Do you find it frustrating trying to hear important conversations in noisy places?
We are social beings, hard-wired to connect with our fellow human beings. A fundamental way we relate to other people is through our hearing. When we talk and listen, we build relationships and forge our own identity. This applies with our family and friends just as much as in the workplace.
But these days conditions are often so noisy it can be hard to hear those important conversations. It can also mean that you find you:
have to concentrate harder just to hear;
can't think on your feet as quickly;
can't remember things so well;
feel tired and frustrated more quickly;
may begin to fear you are 'losing your edge'.
Why? Because your brain is working overtime to isolate your target conversation from the background noise. That directly affects your ability to take part fully in the discussion. You miss vital nuggets, get the wrong end of the stick, or fail to follow up on an opportunity. It's frustrating for you, and for the people around you.
The good news is these difficulties are easy to overcome
simply by learning how to use your hearing more smartly.
And the benefits are incalculable.
Information gaps & mistakes
Noisy places or poor acoustics mean trouble if you have not developed effective strategies. You miss vital information, you make mistakes, you misunderstand things. Not only do you stop enjoying social gatherings, you have fewer opportunities to contribute effectively to conversations whether they are with family and friends or in the workplace.
Hearing conversations fully means you base decisions on complete and accurate information
When you have to work harder just to hear, you use more of the cognitive processing powers needed for transferring information into short-term memory. This means that even if you pick up the right information at the time, you may later be unable to remember it. Consequently, your decisions and discussions will draw on a faulty recollection of the conversation.
Hearing easily means you can attend to and recall the all the information you need
Fatigue & frustration
Trying to block out distracting background noise is frustrating and exhausting; it can leave you feeling irritable and drained. The energy you have to use just to hear means you have less for other tasks. Fatigue sets in earlier and earlier in the day, and you may begin to dread situations you previously found enjoyable and rewarding.
Learning how to focus your hearing effectively in noise releases energy for other things
Do you know why your hearing matters so much?
Losing the lead
You have a unique conversational style, a mix of your personality and your role at work and at home. You have already learned how to communicate effectively in different situations. But if you are now struggling to hear well in noise, you have probably developed some unhelpful tactics that will affect your ability to lead the conversation to get the result you want.
Adapting your personal communication style for noise will restore your conversational power
Performance and productivity decline
When you begin to find noisy places difficult, you set off a chain of unintended consequences. You may start to lose your confidence; others may start to leave you out or overlook your contributions. The truth is, you are as capable as ever of processing and analysing information, but as your ability to hear well in noise drops your contributions and decisions risk becoming less relevant and effective.
When you realise that these problems are caused simply by the way you handle background noise, you can act quickly to resolve the issue before it becomes a major problem
Problems at work - everybody loses
If you are missing opportunities, feeling increasingly tired at the end of the day, and beginning to dread situations that previously energised you, the scene is set for a downward spiral. If you are accustomed to being on top of your game at work, this is not comfortable. Too often, the end result is gradual withdrawal and sometimes premature exit from the business.
For you, this is a waste of of your skills, talents and potential, and your income will be affected. For a large company, your valuable expertise and experience is lost, not to mention the significant HR costs (in both finance and time) of replacing you. For a small business, it could spell the end of the dream.
Recognising that the source of these problems - hearing in noise - is easily remedied means your career is back on track and the business retains your skills and experience.