“Selective Listening and Attention” Comments, Page 1

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5 Comments (2 Discussion Threads) on “Selective Listening and Attention”

  1. I find this article informative for me as I probably engage in selectively tuning out my wife and I often have used the excuse that I have poor hearing as why haven’t heard what she has said. On the other hand, I don’t think I’m a deeply disturbed person but the principle is applicable to me. The problem is I tune out when I consider the subject chosen is trivial. Most instances are logistical issues such as “I already told you: to take the garbage out, or the menu for dinner, or the list of who’s coming to dinner, or you’re never ready on time”. I believe my wife doesn’t weigh these issues proportionate to their importance, certainly to me but even to her.

    1. Hi John,

      I was thinking a bit about what you posted here, and perhaps -in some cases- tuning someone out can be a “protective measure.”

      If you have to put up with a boss, or a coworker, or a family member who would just not stop talking because they have a strong need to talk 24/7 -about just anything, tuning them out could be a healthy approach.

      It’s not what Dr. Simon is explaining here, though.

      Also, I found that stop talking to someone who is tuning you out can come naturally, sometimes.

      I mean, why waste your time and energy talking to someone who would rather have it their way? Some people just do this, they quit trying to ghet their message across until or unless the other party is open to different perspectives.

  2. Dr. Simon.
    I have a horrible selective hearing problem. To the point I don’t even notice when I’m doing it. And how, when I don’t know when I am doing it, can I fix it. I could be doing something as trivial as fixing a plate up at work and when someone directs a question to me, the only thing that gets my attention is the silence that follows while people wait my reply. They could say my name and I don’t even hear them. My problem is getting to the point where it is ruining my 5 year relationship with my fiancĂ©. I do happen to have less hearing In my left ear, but I can still hear with it and it’s not a valid excuse anymore. I’ve had selective hearing for 10 years now. I know how it came about, I just want to know how to fix it.

    1. Sorry to be just now responding to your comment. And you pose a great question. Actually, the way to “fix” the problem is relatively straightforward and simple, just not easy. And any therapist who’s really well-versed in cognitive-behavioral methods can help you with it. Just be sure they really attend to the “behavior” part of CBT, which would include learning the skills of covert self-monitoring and self-reinforcement, increasing symptom cue sensitivity, etc. If you can’t find anyone who really “gets it” with respect to this, feel free to contact me through the back channel and I’ll be glad to send you some information.

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