If you have ever had a conference call you will likely understand the frustration of being a part of a broken conversation in which you cannot participate. This video sums it up perfectly and may give you a chuckle.
We are in the digital age and while these fantastic tools help to bring people together from across the globe. When it comes to health, they are not always great to use. Technology is great and when it works, you can save a ton of time and money. When it doesn't work, I think we all know those results.
Good communication is vital to the success of any business.
Without proper communication, there is no amount of funding that can keep a business afloat. There are lists of best sellers like “Crucial conversations”, “How to talk to anyone”, “Getting to yes” that prove our hunger for better communication.
OK. So these titles conflate hearing and listening. Each, in reality, is distinct from the other but, they do rely on each other to function. While these books may have value, there is one golden nugget they all miss, and which is the secret to any of their advice actually working.
It all comes down to one question; “ Can you hear?”
By that, I don't mean are you able to empathise or sympathise with the person on the other end. That would be listening. A skill that many of us could improve upon.
What I am referring to is your physically ability to hear the conversation. It isn't just conversation though.
The industrial health industry takes this pretty seriously and hearing conservation programs form part of almost every occupational health regimen the world over. It is especially important in environments with increased noise exposure.
These programs are usually in place in industrial environments, but noise exposure extends way further than that and could actually be right in your pocket.
If you have been outside lately, or pumped up the jams on your ipod to full volume, you will probably admit that noise is not isolated to factories alone. We are exposed to it every day.
Hearing loss affects millions worldwide, and no, it's not just the developing world. Your boardroom is just as likely to house at least one person who is struggling to hear a conversation entirely.
As the above video illustrates very well, it is hard enough to communicate without the added disadvantage of having even a mild hearing loss.
Hearing loss simply doesn't get the attention it deserves, but when you consider the cost of miscommunication and its implications in both time and money, perhaps it's time we elevate the topic.
We will gladly spend our money on the latest communication fad, stand up desks and even nootropics that promise abilities only found in movies like “Limitless”. So why is it that we ignore a vital component in our limited range of senses?
If we struggle to see, we are very quick to get to an optometrist because we are acutely aware of what affects our vision. Hearing is different, we simply cannot hear what is missing, most often until it is too late. Hearing loss is not reversible and gets worse with age, but, it can be treated and through early intervention, can be maintained well into old age.
Find an audiologist and have your hearing checked.
With the new audiology technology available, they can even come to you.
It could be the best investment you ever make.