Is Selective Hearing Real?

  1. Selective Hearing

When you were young did your mother ever complain that you or your siblings had selective hearing? For example, she might ask you to do the dishes and then, 20 minutes later when they weren’t done, she would ask why and you would tell her that you didn’t hear her. Most parents don’t believe their children’s excuses about selective hearing, but did you know that selective hearing is an actual thing?

What is Selective Hearing

Before we begin to discuss what selective hearing is, how it works, and if you need to see a hearing care professional about it, it’s important to realize that there is a difference between hearing a sound and registering it. For example, what you hear is what you pay attention to, even if you’re choosing not to react to it. A good example of this is a person who works in a department store. Department stores generally play generic music in the background to make the shopping experience better for the consumers.

Once you begin working at a department store, however, you begin to filter out the music that is playing so that, at the end of the day, if you were to ask an employee what songs they heard they would likely not be able to remember very many of them. It’s also why, when there is an announcement, the announcement is often much louder over the intercom than the music. They want the employees to actually focus on the announcement and to get their attention it has to be louder.

Explaining Selective Hearing

Imagine that you were trying to watch one of your favorite television shows. Other people in the room, however, try to speak with you. If they were to ask you what they said at the end of the episode it’s very likely that you didn’t hear much of the conversation. This is because your brain prioritizes the sound that was coming from your show over the sound of the other person’s voice.

This is very much what selective hearing is. The brain chooses which sounds it wants to focus on and makes those sounds a priority over other sounds. That’s why, if you are playing a game and intently focused on it someone can come up behind you and scare you extremely easily.

Unintentional Selective Hearing

While most selective hearing is done without thinking you are still able to register, and hear, all of the tones. A different type of selective hearing can be classified as hearing loss. This type of hearing loss occurs when you are unable to hear specific tones.

This may mean that you were unable to register higher pitched tones or unable to register lower pitched tones. If you are finding that you were unable to register certain pitches on a regular basis, even if you are trying to focus on them, it may be a good idea to get your hearing tested by a professional.

Need help hearing more fully? Contact Beltone DWF today.