Selective Hearing: Fact or Fiction

The term “selective hearing” refers to a condition where certain sounds are picked out while others are not. For example, if someone says something loud, but soft like “boom,” it might sound muffled because other sounds such as the person’s voice or even background noise have been drowned out. If the same person were to say “bam!” then the sound would be louder and clearer.

People with selective hearing may hear sounds they don’t normally hear. They may also experience problems when listening to music, speech, or conversations.

Some people with selective hearing do not realize their ears are different from those of most people. Others think their problem is due to stress or anxiety. Other times people with selective hearing believe that the problem is caused by some medical condition such as tinnitus (ringing in the ear).

Some people with selective hearing are able to compensate for their hearing loss through technology. These individuals use special headphones or earplugs to block out the unwanted sounds.

However, these devices must be worn all the time, which makes them impractical for many people. Other people with selective hearing need specialized equipment such as cochlear implants or binaural beats (a type of brainwave entrainment) to improve their ability to hear certain sounds.

“The ear is very complicated, but in essence sound enters the outer ear and causes the ear drum to vibrate. The vibrations (or pressure changes) move through a chain of little bones ultimately causing the tiny hair cells in the cochlea to move.

These hair cells are what carry the sound information to the brain. From there, the brain has to interpret that information and process it as sound.”

What Does it Feel Like to Have Selective Hearing?

Sources & references used in this article:

Attention and behaviourism—fact and fiction by AD Lovie – British Journal of Psychology, 1983 – Wiley Online Library

Interviewing at the border of fact and fiction by PC Rosenblatt – … of interview research: Context and method, 2002 –

Separating fact from fiction: assessing the potential of modified adenovirus vectors for use in human gene therapy by A Amalfitano, RJ Parks – Current gene therapy, 2002 –

Separating fact from fiction in the etiology and treatment of autism by JD Herbert, IR Sharp, BA Gaudiano – A scientific review of the …, 2002 –

Fabulous science: fact and fiction in the history of scientific discovery by J Waller – 2004 –

The evolution of stories: from mimesis to language, from fact to fiction by B Boyd – Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 2018 – Wiley Online Library

‘This Story Is Not True.’Fact and Fiction in Antiquity by CR Ligota – Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1982 – JSTOR