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 they are not always great to use. When they do work they are great and can save a ton of time and money. When they don’t, I think we all know those results.
The fact is that good communication is vital to the success of any business. Without it, there is no amount of funding that can keep a business afloat. Just have a look at your local bookstore and you will see titles like “Crucial conversations”, “How to talk to anyone”, “Getting to yes”. Clearly we are already desperate to communicate better.
While these titles will often compare listening to hearing and can be really helpful in business, what these books all miss is the golden nugget that affects communication at large and that no book can fix.
It all comes down to one question; “ Can you actually hear?”
By that, I don't mean are you able to empathise or sympathise with the person on the other end. I mean, are you able to physically hear and understand the conversation?
The industrial health industry takes this pretty seriously and hearing conservation forms part of almost every occupational health regimen the world over. It is especially prevalent in environments where noise exposure is an issue, but If you have walked outside lately, or listened to your ipod at 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.