The only one thing that you requested was for the garbage to be taken out. A little while later you realize your partner didn’t do it. When you ask why they didn’t do it, your partner says “I never heard you ask me”. Why aren’t you surprised that your partner failed to hear the one thing they wanted done? This “selective hearing” is a normal sign that communication is failing.
We normally think of selective hearing as a negative, kind of like it’s a character defect. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is saying they weren’t listening to you. But selective hearing may actually be connected to untreated hearing loss instead of a short attention span.
Selective hearing – what is it?
You’ve probably been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if no one used that specific term. When you miss all the things you don’t want to hear but hear everything else, that’s selective hearing. You hear the part about making a delicious meal but miss the part about cleaning up the dishes. That sort of thing.
As a behavior, selective hearing is incredibly common. But this behavior is more prevalent in men than women, according to some research.
How individuals are socialized does give some context and it may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But hearing health is likely another major aspect. Let’s say your “selective hearing” starts to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.
Communication can be impacted by hearing loss
Undiagnosed hearing loss can indeed make communication a lot more difficult. That’s likely not that surprising.
But here’s the thing: oftentimes, communication issues are a sign of hearing loss.
Symptoms can be really hard to detect when hearing loss is in the early phases. Maybe you begin turning the volume on your tv up. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you go out for a beverage at your local tavern. It’s most likely because the music is so loud, right? But besides scenarios like that, you may never even notice how loud daily sounds can be. Your hearing can gradually diminish because of this. You scarcely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you regularly have trouble hearing conversations.
Your hearing health is worrying your partner
You will notice some of the people close to you are beginning to be concerned. Your family and friends will likely be annoyed when they think you’re purposely missing what they say. But that aggravation often becomes concern when they recognize that hearing loss could be the actual culprit.
And your partner may want you to find out what’s going on by having you schedule a hearing test.
It’s important to listen to your partner’s concerns. Have an open conversation and consider that they have a caring attitude and not just annoyance.
Early hearing loss has a few other signs
You should watch out for some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing appears to be getting worse. A few of those signs include:
- Consonants are hard to make out
- Trouble hearing in crowds
- Turning the volume up on your devices
- Needing to ask others to speak up or slow down
- When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
If you have any of these symptoms, you should call us for a hearing test.
Always safeguard your hearing
It’s critical that you take measures to safeguard your ears in order to prevent hearing loss. If you can’t stay away from overly loud noise, be certain that you use hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Hearing aids can also help you have more effective communication, which can smooth over many rough spots that your hearing loss may have caused in the first place.
A diminishing attention span will be responsible for most selective hearing incidents in your life. But when you (or someone around you) observes your selective hearing becoming worse, you may want to take that as a sign that it’s time to have your hearing checked.