Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Hearing Test

I had my annual hearing test today. My trips to the hearing doctor are certainly the most pleasant medical visits the profession has to offer. The wait is short and the entire experience consists of being asked questions by a few nice people. There is no poking or sharp instruments of any kind. And there's a few minutes in a sound booth where I get to wear headphones and respond to various sounds by pressing a button on a cool toy not unlike a joystick. If you haven't been, I highly recommend a trip. Almost everyone I talk to thinks they have trouble hearing, but also thinks it's just normal. I say, better to find out for sure.

I became more and more aware of my hearing trouble as my son grew older and I noticed it was hard to hear him sometimes. Then, I began to have some difficulty in large groups, restaurants, or anyplace with a lot of background noise. On my first visit, I found that I do have a decent amount of hearing loss in my left ear, but very little in my right. The last two follow-up visits have been to see if it's getting worse or not. Thankfully, there has been little change since the first visit, so apparently my hearing was damaged quite awhile ago, but I only became aware of it recently. I wish I could blame something cool, like a Fugazi concert or 97 Grateful Dead concerts (I only went to 5), but it's safe to assume that mowing with headphones on as a teenager was not helpful.

My favorite part of the visit is when they show you a chart of what you can hear and not hear. In my case, I hear vowels without problem, as well as deeper, predominately male voices. However, I have trouble hearing consonants, particularly those spoken by someone with a higher pitch, such as a female or young child. Sorry family!

When I was looking at my latest chart, I realized how much I need a whole new set of hearing tests. Wouldn't it be great if you could go take a test to find out how well you hear your children, your spouse, or even God?

I would love to sit in a chair for a few minutes and find out that I hear my wife really well when she's talking about me, but not so well when she's talking about herself. Or maybe I hear my son perfectly well when I'm in the right mood, but I don't hardly hear him at all when I'm thinking about work.

And what if there was a chart to show me that I have no trouble hearing God when the conversation is about blessings and answered prayers, but there's a lot of feedback when the topic turns to obedience.

We all have audible blind-spots. If they were laid out in front of me in black and white, I might try to do something about them.