Men Have Trouble Hearing Women

Men do have trouble hearing women, scientists find (AFP)

Men who are accused of never listening by women now have an excuse — women’s voices are more difficult for men to listen to than other men’s, a report said. The Daily Mail, quoting findings published in the specialist magazine NeuroImage, said researchers at Sheffield university in northern England discovered startling differences in the way the brain responds to male and female sounds. Men deciphered female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engaged a simpler mechanism, it said.

The Mail quoted researcher Michael Hunter as saying, “The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural ‘melody’ in their voices.

Amusing. One wonders whether women process sound in the same way. If so, then women would have more trouble understanding other women, too.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Science & Technology
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Russ says:

    If so, then women would have more trouble understanding other women, too.

    I’m convinced they do have trouble that way. Hence, their development of psychic powers.

    Or at least, the power to cloud men’s minds.

  2. Herb says:

    Doing an expensive research project on this subject is a total waste of money. If one wants an answer to this deli ma, then just ask any married guy and he will willingly provide an answer.

    Men usually don’t listen to women because most of the time, they

    1 Don’t have much to say that has any meaning.

    2. When women do say something, it seldom makes any resemblance of common sense.

    3. Most women just talk to hear themselves talk.

    4. And. most men don’t understand gibberish.

    NOW, let’s hear it from the female species.

  3. McGehee says:

    LOL!

    Herb, you need a blog.

  4. Fitch says:

    That’s funny. I’m always trying to tell my ol’ lady that the problem is that I don’t HEAR her, not that I’m not listening. She never buys it.

  5. Brian J. says:

    This study has devastated the compliment, “Your voice is music to my ears,” as it now implies we men cannot understand it.

  6. jen says:

    NOW, let’s hear it from the female species.

    Herb, you’re an ass.

    Did you hear that?

  7. Bindare2 says:

    Most men, metro-sexuals excluded, don’t hear women because they are not interested in what women want to talk about. Fashion, decorating and the subtleties of relationships are not subjects that the average guy enjoys. Only after years of nagging, crying, and periodic sexual deprivation do some married men feign an interest.

  8. Herb says:

    Jen:

    You have now demonstrated the characteristics of the female species and have truly acknowledged what I stated in numbered items 1, 2, 3,, and a little bit of 4 of my previous comment to this blog

    No wonder men don’t even care to listen.

  9. McGehee says:

    Only after years of nagging, crying, and periodic sexual deprivation do some married men feign an interest.

    And even then, it may be as much due to aging, and a consequent reduction in testosterone production, as to the “nagging, crying, and periodic sexual deprivation.”

  10. Rodney Dill says:

    … but when my wife starts to whisper I can hear her clearly from a room away.

  11. Lunacy says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever had trouble being heard.

    But then I’m one of those women with the deep, strong voice, like Lauren Bacall or Candace Bergen.

    Funny thing is men think my voice is very sexy. HOWEVER, when on the phone or at the drive thru I’m almost always mischaracterized.

    So the voice that get great attention and praise from men when I’m in eyeshot, gets “Would you like fries with that, sir?” when I’m not.

    Lunacy

  12. ALS says:

    Fashion, decorating and the subtleties of relationships are not subjects that the average guy enjoys

    Really? Doesn’t sound like many women I know today. Especially not me. I engage my husband on topics like politics, current events, defense re-structuring, etc.

    Such a shame that he tunes me out. He prefers the “subtleties” of golf scores, NASCAR races, and the latest Fear Factor. Not subjects that the average gal enjoys….

    Goes both ways, bub.

  13. Fitch says:

    I engage my husband on topics like politics, current events, defense re-structuring, etc.

    Huh? *I* get tuned out if I talk about that stuff to my wife.

  14. ALS says:

    Huh? I get tuned out if I talk about that stuff to my wife.

    I get told: “Calm down. You take this stuff way too seriously. Geesh. National security, terrorism, who’s going to be the next president, Constitution this, Constitution that… You’d think that kind of thing is important or something… Hand me the remote, honey, the Nationals are on!”

  15. Devon says:

    Actually Herb, Jen is right – you are an ass.

    In my experience, it is males who usually have little of interest to talk about. One can only discuss the merits of sports and cars for so long.

    Let me clarify by saying that I enjoy talking to MEN, as opposed to boys, guys and dudes, which unfortunately make up approximately 90% of the U.S. male population.

    Women’s conversation, on the other hand (and not girls or chatty kathy’s) is often quite interesting. At a social gathering, I would much rather be in the kitchen talking to the women about my young son’s child development than sitting in the den while the host male flips between the Nascar race and the World’s Strongest Man Competition.

    Before you make the accusation – I am not gay, effeminate or pussy whipped. I love football and healthy competition. I play poker and drink beer.

    In addition, my wife is my best friend and my partner in all that I do. And the fact is that men usually suck at communication – regardless of their hearing abilities – unless, perhaps, they communicate through the use of bodily functions, in which case they seem to be wholly present.

  16. female says:

    Yeah after an occasional blonde joke at a job interview, it’s just one more freaking thing I have to deal with when trying to find a job.

  17. ALS says:

    Devon – You ROCK!

    I’ll bet with your attitude, you have one hell of a healthy and happy marriage.

    So, don’t you worry. While you’re getting plenty of – shall we say – “love and attention” from your wife, let your male critics and nay-sayers call you “whipped” and “effeminate.”

    NASCAR don’t keep you warm at night.