Answering Your Questions About Selective Hearing

Selective hearing or only hearing what you want to hear is a fairly common statement when women describe the man in their lives. It could be a daughter about her father, or a wife with her husband. Most often it is the female complaining about the male not being able to hear them clearly.

There is a really good reason for this and to explain it is actually fairly easy to do. As we age, our hearing sensitivity is subject to wear and tear. It could be from rock concerts, working in noise, various ototoxic medications, to consoling a crying baby. Our ears go through a lot throughout our lifetime. How our ears age is the focus of todays topic of conversation.

To simplify, let me use a different example and one that most of us can relate to. Let’s say that we have a room that is carpeted. The carpet closest to the doorway of the room is always worn first before the rest of the room. Our inner ears have a similar doorway. The tiny nerves that are called hair cells pick up all the various pitches of sound and bring them to the brain get worn out the same way as the carpet does.

The high pitches are located closest to the doorway because of the science of how sounds travel. High pitch sounds travel less distances than low pitch sounds. Female voices are higher in pitch when compared to male voices. If we understand that the wear and tear happen first for the high pitch sounds before the lower pitch sounds, this would entirely explain why men hear their male friends quite well, and at the same time they have difficulty hearing female voices.

So, in short, men are not selectively screening female voices, it is most often the case that they have a mid to high frequency hearing loss. Hearing aids are designed to amplify all the regions of sound that need amplification so that it will enable someone to hear those sounds again in a normal sort of way.

If you are experiencing this type of situation, your best course of action is to book a hearing test and have a conversation about how we hear.