You’ve probably had the experience of asking your partner to empty the dishwasher or fold the laundry only to find out later they haven’t done it. They say they didn’t hear you. You think they didn’t hear because they didn’t want to. This is colloquially referred to as “selective hearing.”
What is Selective Hearing?
While selective hearing is often used in a negative connotation, it’s a common human behavior that actually has some benefits.
With selective hearing, we can effectively ignore background chatter and focus on having a conversation with our partner while out on a date at The Bevy.
In that sense, selective hearing is very goal-oriented. Scientists can actually see our brains working differently based on what we are trying to hear.
In one study, researchers played different sounds simultaneously in participants’ left and right ears. They asked the participants to note changes in pitch in one ear and ignore the other.
MRI scans showed that participants were able to hear the sounds in each ear. However, brain activation was different depending on what sound they were trying to pay attention to.
Hearing Loss Causes Communication Problems
While selective hearing is normal, frequently not hearing what people say may be a sign of hearing loss. One of the earliest signs of hearing problems is having trouble with higher-frequency sounds, which includes most speech.
This can make it difficult to follow conversations and increase instances of miscommunication. This can take a toll on your personal relationships.
If your partner or loved ones have made frequent complaints about your hearing, consider making an appointment for a hearing test.
Concerned About a Loved One’s Hearing?
Similarly, if you’ve noticed communication struggles with a spouse or partner and are concerned about their hearing, it’s important to voice those concerns.
Many times, people with hearing loss don’t realize the degree to which it’s affecting other people. By being open about your feelings, you may give them the motivation they need to get their hearing checked.
Try to have this conversation at a time when both of you are relaxed and not rushed. You could even do some research on the benefits of hearing aids, or the health risks associated with untreated hearing loss before you speak so that you feel more informed.
One of the best things to do is to offer to accompany them to their hearing test. Knowing they have your support can make them feel ready to take that first step toward prioritizing their hearing health.
If you have additional questions or would like to schedule a hearing test for yourself or a loved one, contact Center For Hearing today.