Listening armour?

What kind of armour do we put on as a shield to listening?

I am asking because I think we do this subconsciously, as self-protection.

It prevents things we might hear – be exposed to – penetrating too deeply. Muffling our listening capacity, but not doing so as a conscious act.

Might this be an auto-reflex when we are feeling overwhelmed? Or instinctively protecting a sensitive or vulnerable inner area?

I wonder whether hearing but unconsciously not listening is actually more damaging in the long term than doing it by choice…

What is your experience?