If you’ve ever spent time telling a guy a story or asking him a question, only to get a blank stare in response, then you know that there’s definitely truth to this claim that guys weren’t designed to hear us speak. I had a similar experience at brunch this weekend when I was going on and on to a male friend about something I can’t even remember anymore. When I got to the end of my rant and finally asked him if he agreed with me on the topic at hand, his answer was, “sorry, I really wasn’t listening to a word you said.”
Even though I was incredibly frustrated with him, he did bring up a good point, asking, “would you rather I lie and say I heard you?” This little exchange, as insignificant as it was, did make me wonder exactly what it is that makes it so easy for men to tune us out.
As it turns out, a study published in the journal NeuroImage sought to answer the very same question. Researchers found that there are major differences in the way male and female brains process voice sounds. Different brain regions are activated in men, depending on whether they’re hearing a male or female voice.
Apparently, the vibration and number of sound waves in our voice makes it harder for men to decipher what we’re saying. When it comes to processing a woman’s voice, they use the more complex auditory part of the brain that processes music, not human voices. But the guys in the study could easily hear and understand other mens voices as speech because that uses a simpler brain mechanism at the back of the brain.
So, next time you want to get angry and yell at a guy for “not listening,” cut him a little slack his brain just wasn’t made to hear you. My suggestion would be to speak slowly and get to your point fast.