I grew up in a time when not much attention was given to safety, especially in the area of hearing. As a young boy, my family hunted, mostly with shotguns; we never wore ear protection. Later, when I joined the drum corps in school, there were lots of opportunities for loud blasts at close proximity to my ears. There were also loud concerts I attended; afterwards, my ears would ring for a day or so. Then, after I became an adult, I worked for nearly 25 years in a wood shop with loud machinery. All of this, plus age, has done quite a bit of damage to my hearing.
Today, I have constant ringing in my ears, which contributes to my inability to hear certain frequencies. My children routinely have to repeat things two or three times……. okay, maybe four. They would say, if asked, that I’m deaf, though not literally. I tried hearing aids for a while, but they made the sounds actually painful to hear. So I just try to get by.
Now, you have to look at the bright side of things; there are advantages to being somewhat deaf. For example, when someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do, you just pretend you didn’t hear them. Or they’re conversing about a subject you’re not really interested in and they ask your opinion. “What’s that,” you say, “I didn’t hear you.” See, you just have to learn how to play the system.
I jest, of course. The truth is hearing is very important. I wish I could go back in time and undo the damage that was done to my ears. But what’s more important than hearing is listening. I confess that I am not a good listener, though I am trying to improve. Listening entails paying attention. You can have background music playing in a restaurant and hear it, but not really listen to it. You can also have a conversation and not listen to what the other person is saying. The whole time they’re speaking, you’re formulating your own next thought in your head. That’s not listening, that’s egoistic.
All of Proverbs chapter 18 relates to speaking and listening. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Proverbs 18:2 – Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
Proverbs 18:13 – To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame
The mug is raised today to all those who desire to be heard; spend some time truly listening to others!
All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com