Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
Western Australians accused by their partners of selective hearing, could actually be suffering true hearing loss and are putting unnecessary strain on their relationship, experts warn.

‘Selective hearing’ has been called a male phenomenon that explains the ability to hear only what you want to, while tuning out to less desirable sounds, such as a baby’s crying, partners’ nagging and other inconveniences.

But Australia’s largest independent hearing care organisation, National Hearing Care, is sticking up for men saying the chances of partners suffering hearing loss are quite high.

“One in six Australians has a hearing loss. The rate for men is even higher due to factors such as noise in the workplace and war service,” NHC WA Area Manager, Vince Miraudo, says.

“But men are least likely to take the initiative for a test- it’s usually their partners who get sick of nagging them and drag them in to get their hearing checked.”

In 2011, 1.5 times as many women as men visited a National Hearing Care clinic.

It’s not just men’s hearing that’s suffering by avoiding an appointment; an undiagnosed hearing loss can break down relationships.

“Since hearing loss is gradual and subtle, many people don’t even realise they’re losing their hearing and tend to blame the other person with phrases like ‘stop mumbling!’ and ‘you never told me that’,” he says.

Gwenda Cross, Clinical Psychologist from Cottlesloe Counselling Centre, agrees.

“Communication is vital to any relationship and if a partner feels like their significant other isn’t listening to them, the relationship often deteriorates,” she says.

“The person suffering hearing loss can become angry and frustrated, and seem to their partner to lack interest and that they are withdrawing from the partnership.”

“Some hearing loss is a natural part of ageing, but can be exacerbated by heredity, lifestyle and illness. If you spend lot of time working where there is a lot of noise, have experienced repeat ear infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, or are a smoker, you’re more likely to have hearing problems,” Mr Miraudo says.

“We also see a lot of people who have been putting off getting their hearing tested because they don’t like the look of a hearing aid. What they don’t realise is times have changed and hearing devices are now incredible small and comfortable - some even use the latest wireless technology to connect directly to your TV or phone.”

“Regardless of whether a hearing device is for you it’s important to watch your overall health and have a hearing test every two years.”

Contact Profile

National Hearing Care

National Hearing Care has been helping Australians hear better for over 10 years. We have one of the largest networks of permanently staffed centres located across Australia.

We employ a highly qualified team of professional audiologists, each with extensive experience in all areas of hearing loss, including diagnosis, rehabilitation, hearing loss prevention and the latest instrument fitting technologies.
Julia Loughlin
P: (03) 8643 1638


hearing, hearing loss, deaf, nagging, hearing aid, relationships, communication, partners,



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