The only one thing that you requested was for the trash to be taken out. But, unfortunately, it never got done. “I Didn’t hear you”, they state. Curious how that works, how your partner didn’t hear the one thing you asked them to do. The popular term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s usually a sign of failed communication.
We have the tendency to think of selective hearing as a negative, almost like it’s a character flaw. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is saying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the actual cause behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it may be the early stages of hearing loss.
Selective hearing – what is it?
You’ve likely had at least one or more scenarios in your life where someone has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the term “selective hearing”. Selective hearing happens when you can clearly hear information that’s beneficial to you but conveniently miss the part that’s negative. You hear the bit about the chocolate cake, but you don’t hear the part about the calories. Things like that.
As a behavior, selective hearing is incredibly common. But this behavior is more common in men than women, according to some studies.
How people are socialized does give some context and it may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But the other part of the picture may have something to do with hearing health. Let’s say your “selective hearing” starts to become more prominent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.
Hearing loss can create gaps in communication
Undiagnosed hearing loss can indeed make communication a lot more challenging. You’re most likely not shocked by that.
But one prominent indication of hearing loss is communication problems.
Symptoms can be really hard to detect when hearing loss is in the early stages. Maybe you start turning the volume up on your tv. You can’t quite hear what your friend is saying when you go out for a drink at your local pub. You most likely just presume it’s because of the loud music. And so, other than that, you could go through most of your daily life without giving much notice to the volume of the world around you. This allows your hearing to slowly (but surely) diminish. Up to the time you’re having difficulty following along with daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.
Your hearing health is worrying your partner
You will notice some of the people in your life are beginning to worry. Your family and friends will probably be annoyed when they think you’re deliberately ignoring what they say. But as it turns out more and more frequently, irritation might turn to concern.
So, your partner may recommend you set up a hearing exam to determine if something is wrong.
Your partner’s worry is relevant and it’s essential for you to recognize that. Have an open discussion and consider that they are coming from a place of caring and not just annoyance.
Early hearing loss has a few other indicators
If your selective hearing has become worse over time, it may be worth keeping an eye out for some of these other early indications of hearing loss. Here are a few of those signs:
- When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
- Trouble hearing in crowds
- Turning up the volume on your devices
- Consonants are hard to distinguish
- Having to ask people to speak up or slow down
If you have any of these symptoms, you should call us for a hearing test.
Always safeguard your hearing
It’s crucial that you take measures to safeguard your ears so that you can prevent hearing loss. Limit your exposure to noisy environments (or at least wear earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Any feathers that you might have ruffled with your selective hearing can be smoothed over by using hearing aids to communicate more effectively.
In most situations throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a waning attention span. But you might want to take it as a sign that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you start to notice your selective hearing getting worse.