Saturday April 29th 2017

Are you listening? Can you hear?

I have a hearing problem! There, I admitted it! Perhaps it is age, or perhaps I have more than a hearing problem, but like many Americans, I am afraid, or have been to find out, or even admit to the problem until now! I have been in sales for many years (by day) and as a salesperson, one has to “listen” to what the clients are asking for. I am pretty sure I never lost a sale because of my hearing situation, but can I be certain? By night, I am a theater reviewer, attending plays and musicals, concerts and Cabarets along with comedy clubs. I make notes and write reviews of what I see (and hear), so “hearing” is of great import to me.

Like most males I know, our wives (or significant others) keep reminding (notice, not “nagging”) us that we are not responding. To some, it is called “selective hearing”. In other words, hearing the words and thoughts that are positives, but ignoring the negatives and in some cases the “honey do’s”. Jane has told me for years that I have a problem. I really thought mostly because of some wax build-ups I had years ago. I thought to myself “I attend theater almost every night and write a review of what I saw (and heard), so I must be fine”.

As it turns out. I do hear the actors, BUT I do not always understand the actors!

What does this mean? It means I know the actors are speaking to each other and of course to the audience, but I am only capturing a portion of the words they are saying. I do think that my mind has saved my bacon by training itself to read the lips of the actors, allowing e to make more sense out of what the conversations in the production are. Yes, I find myself looking at people’s faces more! This is the clue that tells me that I am probably reading their lips!.

As the years have gone by I find myself saying that young people speak to softly, or too swiftly. I also find myself increasing the volume on the Television and radios. Women’s voices and even those of my own grand-kids are harder to understand than the guys at bowling on a Sunday morning or even at a ball game. I do find myself blaming my cell phone for the muffled sounds that are coming through and have even gone to my provider to change phones.

While this has been going on for a period of time, it was just a few weeks ago that I was hit the hardest. One of my readers, who went to see a play I had reviewed, sent me a note asking if I had been seated in a certain section of the theater. I replied, yes. In fact, that is exactly where I was seated. It was then that she advised me that I had missed part of the action and dialogue, and that my review was slightly off. I went back to the theater and sat in a different section. Sure enough, she was right! The actor who had his back to my original seating area has made a statement that changed the entire meaning of the scene. So now, it is time for me to have a hearing test/evaluation.

Selecting where to go is of great importance. Hearing healthcare is as important (or perhaps even more) as any other part of the full person, and from what I have read, an audiologist is trained to take one from step one to completion, so I will begin my search and get back to you…tune in for more. By the way, that is a joke, as you are reading this.


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