Teenagers around the world can rejoice with the news that their brain deserves the blame when parents' orders go ignored while they tap on their smartphones.
A new scientific study from the University College London has found that humans may be rendered temporarily deaf when they're simultaneously focusing on something visual.
Research found that the 13 volunteers experienced 'inattentional deafness' to the normal-volume sounds playing in the background as their visual tasks became increasingly difficult.
'We found that when volunteers were performing the demanding visual task, they were unable to hear sounds that they would normally hear,' study co-author Maria Chait said in a statement.
'The brain scans showed that people were not only ignoring or filtering out the sounds, they were not actually hearing them in the first place.'
The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, suggest that the visual and auditory processing centers that make sense of the sights and sounds that surround us share limited resources.
Inattentional deafness is a common every day experience and the study explains why, according to UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Professor Nilli Lavie, a co-author of the study.
'If you try to talk to someone focusing on a book, game, or television program and don't receive a response, they aren't necessarily ignoring you, they simply might not hear you!' she said.
'This could also explain why you might not hear your bus or train stop being announced if you're concentrating on your phone, book, or newspaper.'
Loud sounds - like ambulance sirens - will still be able to break through, but some situations couldbecome potentially dangerous when the quieter ones go unheard, according to Medical Daily.
'This has more serious implications in situations such as the operating theater, when a surgeon concentrating on their work might not hear the equipment beeping,' Lavie said.
'It also applies to drivers concentrating on complex directions as well as cyclists and motorists who are focusing intently on something such as an advert or even simply an interesting-looking passerby.'