The aim of this research was to evaluate the ability to switch attention and selectively attend to relevant information in children (10-15 years) with persistent listening difficulties in noisy environments. A wide battery of clinical tests indicated that children with complaints of listening difficulties had otherwise normal hearing sensitivity and auditory processing skills. Here we show that these children are markedly slower to switch their attention compared to their age-matched peers. The results suggest poor attention switching, lack of response inhibition and/or poor listening effort consistent with a predominantly top-down (central) information processing deficit. A deficit in the ability to switch attention across talkers would provide the basis for this otherwise hidden listening disability, especially in noisy environments involving multiple talkers such as classrooms.