There are times that our spouse calls out to us and we really do not hear them. We may be too far to hear their voice. Or deeply engaged in our work. Or have headphones on. Or on the phone. or… or …. When you do hear and are able to listen, simply state “I’m listening.” They will know you are listening.
If this becomes your normal practice, then in the case that you do not say “I’m listening”, your spouse will know that you do not hear them and not assume that you are disregarding them. They can then go find you or go closer so that you can hear. They may notice that you have your headphones on and you couldn’t hear. or .. or… Make it a practice to say “I’m listening” so your spouse can figure out when you indeed are not able to hear or listen.