Often at our clinic we have people who call to book appointments for their partner or spouse, usually accusing them of selective listening. Of course, we’ve all heard the phrase. The conversation typically goes something like this: “he sits in front of the TV and hears it just fine but he doesn’t hear me when I talk to him”. Many, many people throughout history have been accused of not listening to their spouses. I would like to take a minute to explain what is likely happening.







Hearing consists of two main elements. The first is a person’s ability to physically detect and hear a sound. This occurs when there is a sound which is received by the ear and transmitted from the ear to the brain through a series of neurological connections. The basics of this are quite simple. The reaction occurs or it doesn’t.

The second element is much more complex. When the brain receives the signal, it must interpret the series of seemingly random neurological sparks into something that is perceived as sound. That may be spoken language, music, or any number of different items. This comprehension is a much more complex process than simply hearing. Sometimes we can run into trouble when there are multiple levels of stimulation, i.e. the television and a person talking at the same time, or a busy restaurant with many people talking around you. Generally speaking we do quite well understanding a single source stimulation. Some people, however, have a difficult time with multiple sources.

If someone you love is being accused of having selective hearing, it may be that they just aren’t processing a voice when their mind is focused on something else. Please be gentle with them. Then again, you could be right. Either way a hearing test is always a good idea.

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John Thistle BC-HIS
John grew up hard of hearing from a young age and decided to dedicate his career to helping others who experience the same frustrations. It is because of this that he graduated from the Hearing Instrument Specialist program at George Brown College in 2006 and is a member of the Association of Hearing Instrument Practitioners of Ontario. John began his work in hearing aid clinics in 2004 and also worked for a hearing aid manufacturer as a Product and Education Specialist. John continued to pursue excellence and became the first Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist in Durham Region with international accreditation. John and his wife Becky have a young son together. In his spare time John can be found volunteering within the community, hiking and enjoying culinary challenges. About Newcastle Hearing Solutions: As Newcastle’s preferred Hearing Health Clinic we strive to offer the residents of the Village of Newcastle and surrounding areas the highest possible quality of care and service. We opened our doors in 2011 and the response from the community has been overwhelming. People have been so pleased with our level of care that they love to refer their friends and family members. Being residents of Newcastle, we truly are local. Located in the historic Massey Building across from Foodland, our professional team is prepared to work with any and all hearing aid models to ensure they are providing the greatest assistance possible.


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