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“Wife Deafness” or High Frequency Hearing Loss?

by Susan Fenrich

Many times men come into my office to have their hearing tested because the wife accuses them of having Wife Deafness. So what is Wife Deafness? According to the wife, when she calls from the other room he can't hear her. And, when she sits right beside him in front of the TV set he is completely oblivious to her. He also plays the TV too loud. If they go out to eat to a noisy restaurant, he doesn't understand anything she says. Does this sound familiar to you? He often responds with a WHAT? if he responds at all.

First of all, I will explain some possible reasons for this. First, men were designed by our Creator to focus on one thing at a time. That way they could go to work and concentrate on the job to bring home money for the family. Mark Gungor of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage explains it something like this: Men go into their nothing box. This is the place they go to unwind and vegetate after a long day. It is very difficult to get them out of this vegetative state, and they may be totally oblivious to you when you try to. Sometimes you not only have to yell at him you may have to give him a tap on the shoulder to get him to realize you are with him. For a good laugh you may check out Mark Gungor's video on YouTube .

Another explanation of wife deafness is that the husband may actually have a hearing loss. The typical noise induced hearing loss has fairly normal hearing in the low frequencies, and a significant drop in the high frequencies. With a high frequency hearing loss it is more difficult to understand women and children voices; while male voices generally come in loud and clear. Since men can hear their male friends just fine; they tend to think they don't have a hearing problem. In addition, as the high frequencies decline, the consonant sounds become out of focus, causing a person to misunderstand what is being said.

Following is an example of what it sounds like with a high frequency hearing loss. Read the following sentence out loud and hear what it sounds like:

an you read i enane wi e igh requen ononan miing? I mae your brain wor mu oo hard o igure ou wha i being aid. or people i earing lo i oen eaier o idra an o or o ard a underanding.

With normal hearing this sentence should sound like this: Can you read this sentence with the high frequency consonants missing? It makes your brain work much too hard to figure out what is being said. For people with hearing loss its often easier to withdraw than to work so hard at understanding.

If you are being accused of having wife deafness or you can no longer understand the words, I strongly suggest that you seek the help of a licensed hearing professional .

The content contributions of Welsch Hearing Aid Company should not be considered by anyone as a substitute for medical or other hearing health professional diagnosis, treatment, advice, or recommendations.