Does your loved one ignore you whenever you mention putting out the garbage? Or maybe it’s when you bring up visiting the in-laws or clearing out the garage? We’ve all been there. It’s another case of their “selective hearing.”
But maybe you’ve noticed that now they aren’t just tuning out the things you know they dislike doing. They’ve started to miss bits of everyday conversations or keep losing track of what’s happening when you’re watching your favorite TV show together.
The running joke of your loved one faking selective hearing may suddenly seem less funny. Maybe it isn’t selective hearing after all – maybe it’s hearing loss.
So what signs should you be looking out for? How do you know they haven’t actually got a genuine case of selective hearing, rather than a hearing loss? That’s what we’ll be covering in this blog.
Let’s start with some myth-busting.
Selective hearing is a real thing
Selective hearing is when someone unknowingly ignores the sounds around them because they are focused on a specific task which they are interested in. For example, your loved one may be so engrossed in watching the football game on TV that they don’t hear you tell them that dinner is ready. Or they may be concentrating so hard on doing a crossword that they don’t hear the phone ring.
As we get older, it becomes harder for our brains to alert us to new sounds in our environment, which means selective hearing occurs more often.
The trouble with selective hearing, aside from the annoyance it can cause when you’re trying to get your loved one’s attention, is sometimes it wrongly takes the blame for what is actually hearing loss. This confusion is probably more common than you think as one in five Americans has some degree of a hearing loss.
What are the signs of hearing loss?
Some of the signs of hearing loss can be mistaken for selective hearing such as your loved one not hearing you when they’re watching the TV or concentrating on work. But there are other signs that can alert you to there being a more serious problem:
- Your loved one struggles to hold a conversation with you when there is background noise.
- They keep asking people to repeat themselves or speak louder.
- They avoid talking on the phone.
- They are more fatigued and irritable at the end of a day spent interacting with people.
If you’ve noticed these, or any other signs of hearing loss in your loved one, it is well worth encouraging them to get their hearing checked as soon as possible. Unfortunately, individuals with a hearing loss on average wait seven years from first noticing their hearing loss before getting help. In that time, their hearing loss can worsen. This ultimately diminishes their quality of life, as their relationships become strained and they become socially isolated.
The first step to better hearing
A simple hearing test can help your loved one find out exactly what kind of hearing loss they have, how bad it is, and the most appropriate treatment. That last part is really worth selling to your loved one: there is help available to improve their hearing ability. Modern hearing aids are discreet, simple to use, and highly effective at restoring hearing.
Give your loved one a gentle nudge in the right direction, and get them to call Dr. Michelle, your South Florida Audiologist, at 305-588-0446. Dr. Michelle is on hand to answer all of your hearing health questions. Once your loved one gets the treatment they need, you can both get back to enjoying all the things that hearing loss got in the way of, whether it’s binge-watching a TV show, going to the movies, or catching up with friends and family. And there’s an added bonus – they won’t be able to use the excuse of “I didn’t hear you” when you next ask them to put out the garbage.