No one can listen amid the noise

The first noticeable event with the hearing aids I had purchased was when we took a walk through the Kerry Wood and McKenzie trails.

All of a sudden, I could hear birds that I had not heard so clearly for a long time. In fact, I heard a lot of common sounds again that I had not heard for a long time. Although I still get accused of selective hearing, or just not listening at all, by my missus.

I found that if anyone is not speaking directly to me, I don’t always understand what is being said. I hear them speaking, but do not always hear correctly. This is not only the plight of those with hearing aids. I have found that goes as well for people with good hearing.

Let me give you an example.

Being disgusted with the ever-increasing cost of my phone/internet/TV package, I called my provider about three times over as many months, relaying my complaint and what my actual needs were.

As I was explaining these needs, the person on the other end of the line kept interjecting her opinion and her solutions to a problem I had not even voiced.

So like I said, it took several phone calls, and then finally after voicing my utter frustration with their responses, a solution was eventually found. I now pay just about half of what they were trying to nail me for.

One of the most common complaints by people who try to relay a statement is that the recipient has already, in their own mind, formulated a response that they feel is appropriate. Often, it has very little to do with what you tried to say, so it shows that you may talk, but is anyone really listening?

Do you think that the reason for this could be because we are hearing so many voices that keep trying to get our attention, and that because of an overload of these voices, we start to tune them out?

Maybe because of age, I find that if someone who I believe has something important to say is speaking to me, I have to concentrate in order to lock that information into my overloaded memory bank.

That issue of tuning out conversations has also shown its downside. Speaking for myself, although I think it is quite common, I become so accustomed to tuning out conversations that it carries over into important matters.

Therefore, I tend to miss the intent of what is being said in many cases. Maybe my wife was right after all; scary thought that.

Many people I know have the ability or discernment to let useless information in one ear and out the other, and I envy them that talent. But for the majority, 90 per cent of what they hear influences them, and as a result, they have to mentally block everything at times.

I liken that blocking to taking chemo, in that it wipes out everything, good and bad, so a lot of important stuff can be lost in the process.

In today’s society, so many groups and individuals are trying to tell the world that they feel rejected, ignored or ostracized.

Maybe the #MeToo movement had a major impact on this speaking out by offended groups, and rightfully so, although I fear that with the increasing numbers and louder and louder voices, before long, they also will run the risk of being tuned out.

Often, as a result of my columns, I receive calls from people whose frustration comes from the fact that, “I’m speaking, but nobody’s listening,” can you help?

My answer, although not always welcome, is, “You can lead a horse to water but …”

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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