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A Scientific Study Confirms Husbands & Wives Have Selective Hearing

A new study from Queen’s University in Ontario, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that husbands and wives are able to hear the voice of their spouse better than the voice of someone unfamiliar--they're also better at tuning their spouse's voice out. A group of married couples, aged 44 to 79, were given a scripted page to read aloud into a tape recorder. Each person then listened to the playback of their spouse, along with the playback of an unfamiliar voice speaking at the same time. When asked to concentrate on their spouse, husbands and wives were significantly better at hearing and understanding their spouse than they were the unfamiliar voice, even though both were playing at the same volume. When asked to ignore their spouse, the middle aged couples did a much better job than the seniors in the study. In fact, the middle-aged couples could silence their spouse better than the voice of strangers. This Time magazine article notes that this lack of tuning out our spouse as we age is likely related to the dependency we have toward our spouse as our faculties fade. It's as if nature knows we need each other the longer we're together.

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