Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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

The only one thing that you requested was for the trash to be taken out. A little while later you realize your partner didn’t do it. When you ask why it didn’t get done, your partner responds “I never heard you ask me”. Why are you not surprised that your partner didn’t hear the one thing they wanted done? The colloquial term for this is “selective hearing,” and it’s usually a sign of failing communication.

This “selective hearing” is frequently viewed as a sort of character flaw. Accusing somebody of selective hearing is implying they weren’t listening to you. But it’s possible that the real culprit behind your selective hearing might not be a short attention span, it might be the early stages of hearing loss.

What is selective hearing?

You’ve probably had at least one or more scenarios in your life where somebody has accused you of not listening, even if no one specifically used the phrase “selective hearing”. 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 the chocolate cake, but you miss the part about the calories. Things like that.

As a behavior, selective hearing is extremely common. But this behavior is more prevalent in men than women, according to some research.

How people are socialized does offer some context and it may be tempting to draw some social conclusions from this. But hearing health is most likely another major component. Let’s say your “selective hearing” starts to become more prevalent or more common. That could actually be an early sign of hearing loss.

Hearing loss can cause gaps in communication

Undiagnosed hearing loss can indeed make communication a great deal more difficult. You’re probably not surprised by that.

But one prominent indication of hearing loss is communication issues.

When hearing loss is in those very early phases, there aren’t going to be very many noticeable symptoms. Your tv may get a bit louder. When go out to your local haunt, you have a hard time hearing conversations. You most likely just presume it’s because of the loud music. And so, other than that, you could go through the majority of your day-to-day life without giving much notice to the volume of the world around you. Your hearing can gradually diminish because of this. Up to the time you’re having difficulty following along with daily conversations, you almost don’t notice.

Your partner is becoming concerned about the health of your hearing

You will notice some of the people in your life are beginning to be concerned. Yes, selective hearing is a fairly common annoyance (even more annoying when you already feel as if no one listens to you). But as it turns out more and more often, aggravation might turn to worry.

And your partner may want you to find out what’s going on by having you schedule a hearing test.

Your partner’s concern is relevant and it’s important for you to acknowledge that. Have an open conversation and consider that they have a caring attitude and not just aggravation.

Early hearing loss has a few other indicators

If your selective hearing has become worse over time, it might be worth watching out for some of these other early indications of hearing loss. Here are a few of those signs:

  • Requesting that people talk slower and talk louder
  • When people talk it sounds distant or muffled
  • Hearing in crowds is challenging
  • Turning the volume up on your devices
  • Consonants are hard to make out

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

Always protect your hearing

It’s crucial that you take measures to safeguard your ears in order to prevent hearing loss. Limit your exposure to noisy settings (or at least use earmuffs or earplugs when you have to be around noise). Any feathers that you may 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 when you (or somebody around you) notices your selective hearing becoming worse, you may want to take that as a sign that it’s time to have your hearing assessed.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

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.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us