IT'S official: selective hearing loss is a myth and the men accused of it should take heart - but they should get their hearing checked.
Older husbands everywhere, but especially in farming areas, get blamed for having selective hearing, but many are innocent, according to Wimmera Hearing Society project manager Sue Ward.
At the recent Mallee Machinery Field Days, after testing the hearing of several farmers, Sue said domestic hearing loss was largely a myth.
Women should also get their hearing tested, but she said most men who have had a noise injury have a high frequency hearing loss so they have difficulty hearing higher-pitched female voices.
"That's it - so what we do is a lot of counselling," Sue said.
"We give farmers communication strategies. We give them options."
Sue said often a man with high frequency hearing loss realised only halfway through his wife's question that she was talking to him.
"He will get the last half of the question and he will answer it wrongly."
Simple strategies to overcome these difficulties could include wives saying their husband's name first to get their attention.
"Or face them and don't speak to them from another room or with your head in the sink or in a paper. Women need to be educated and they need to be a little more tolerant.
"You've just got to speak normally, but face the person and be on their level - it is so simple."
Sue said hearing loss could develop into a mental health issue if undiagnosed and not treated or discussed with a counsellor.