The only one thing that you requested was for the trash to be taken out. A little while later you discover your partner didn’t do it. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Funny how that works, how your partner failed to hear the one thing you requested from them. The popular term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s often a sign of failed communication.
This “selective hearing” is often viewed as a kind of character flaw. It’s like you’re accusing somebody of deliberately not listening. But it’s possible that the real cause behind your selective hearing may not be a short attention span, it might be the early phases of hearing loss.
What is selective hearing?
You’ve likely been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if nobody used that specific term. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s useful to you but conveniently miss the bit that’s negative. You hear the bit about the chocolate ice cream, but you miss the part about the calories. Things like that.
As a behavior, selective hearing is incredibly common. But this behavior is more prevalent in men than women, according to some studies.
How individuals are socialized does provide some context and it might be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But hearing health is most likely another major aspect. Let’s say your “selective hearing” begins to become more prevalent or more common. That could actually be an early indication of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can produce gaps in communication
Undiagnosed hearing loss can indeed make communication much more challenging. That’s likely not that shocking.
But here’s the thing: oftentimes, communication issues are an indication of hearing loss.
Symptoms can be really difficult to detect when hearing loss is in the early phases. Your tv may get a bit louder. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you stop for a drink at your local tavern. You probably just assume it’s because of the loud music. But besides scenarios like that, you may never even notice how loud daily sounds can be. This lets your hearing gradually decline. You barely notice the problem until you’re at the point where you regularly have trouble hearing conversations.
Your partner is becoming worried about the health of your hearing
You will notice some of the people in your life are beginning to be concerned. Your friends and family will most likely be irritated when they think you’re deliberately missing what they say. But that aggravation often becomes worry when they realize that hearing loss might be the real 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. Talk openly with them and welcome their help because they care about your well-being and aren’t simply irritated with you.
Other early signs of hearing loss
You should watch out for some of the other early warning signs of hearing loss if your selective hearing seems to be getting worse. Here are some of those signs:
- Consonants are hard to distinguish
- When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
- Needing to ask people to speak up or slow down
- Trouble hearing in crowds
- Cranking the volume up on your devices
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.
Use ear protection
Safeguarding your hearing is so crucial to preventing hearing loss. If you can’t avoid overly loud noise, be sure you use hearing protection, like muffs or plugs. Any feathers that you might have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by wearing hearing aids to communicate more effectively.
In most circumstances throughout your life, selective hearing will be an artifact of a diminishing attention span. But when you (or someone around you) observes your selective hearing getting worse, you might want to take that as a sign that it’s time to get your hearing assessed.