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Wife is annoyed by husband who appears to have selective hearing.

The only one thing that you requested was for the garbage to be taken out. A little bit later you discover your partner didn’t do it. “I Didn’t hear you”, they declare. Crazy 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.

We have the tendency to think of selective hearing as a negative, almost like it’s a character defect. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is saying they weren’t listening to you. But selective hearing might actually be connected to untreated hearing loss rather than a short attention span.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve most likely been accused of selective hearing at some point in your life, even if no one used that specific term. 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. However, most studies point to males failing to hear their partners more frequently than women.

How people are socialized does provide some context and it may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But hearing health is probably another major factor. If your “selective hearing” starts to become more common, it might be a hint that you may have undiagnosed hearing loss.

Communication can be impacted by hearing loss

Communication will certainly be more difficult with undiagnosed hearing loss. That’s most likely not that shocking.

But here’s the thing: oftentimes, communication problems are a sign of hearing loss.

When hearing loss is in those really early phases, there won’t be a lot of apparent symptoms. Your tv might get a bit louder. When go out to your local haunt, you have a difficult time hearing what people are saying. It’s likely because the music is so loud, right? But besides situations like that, you may never even notice how loud day-to-day sounds can be. Your hearing can slowly diminish because of this. You barely notice the issue until you’re at the point where you often have trouble hearing conversations.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

The people close to you will probably be concerned. Your friends and family will likely be irritated when they think you’re purposely ignoring what they say. But that frustration often becomes worry 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 significant 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 just annoyed with you.

Early hearing loss has a few other indicators

If your selective hearing is getting worse over time, it might be worth keeping an eye out for some of these other early indications of hearing loss. A few of those signs include:

  • Having a hard time making out consonants
  • Trouble hearing in crowds
  • Having to ask others to talk louder or slow down
  • Speech sounds distant or muffled
  • Cranking up the volume on your devices

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s worth calling us and getting a hearing test.

Always safeguard your hearing

Safeguarding your hearing is so critical to preventing hearing loss. Minimize your exposure to noisy environments (or at least use earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Hearing aids can also help you communicate effectively, which can smooth over many rough spots that your hearing loss might have caused in the first place.

In most circumstances throughout your life, selective hearing is going to be an artifact of a waning attention span. But you may want to take it as an indication that it’s time for a hearing test when people around you begin to notice your selective hearing getting worse.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.