Monday, December 12, 2011

Does poorer hearing = greater wisdom?

I have begun a third run through the Brain Fitness Program.  I did the whole series of 40 lessons five years ago.  It was eye-opening to find how much I expected to excel.  The program is built to keep challenging the user by keeping the success rate about 70%.  That is not very high and people who got used to being above the 90% level may be frustrated.  I was.

But now I am older, wiser and more experienced.  Posit Science has two software programs, Brain Fitness Program for hearing and Insight for vision.  I am redoing the BFP because I spent a lot of time wondering what people said.  I do wear hearing aids and the audiologists tell me that giving my ears a better input quality will help my brain's ability to decode sounds into meanings.  Maybe so, but I can often tell a person said something but not what they said.  

I went to my great-granddaughter's 3rd birthday yesterday.  When we came home, we watched a recorded version of The Mentalist tv show.  Both events gave me plenty of chance to listen and to watch faces and body language to try and grasp what was said.  I think I succeeded most of the time in getting the message.  

I used to pride myself on grasping each spoken word and on evaluating the voice tone.  Then, as I aged, I tried to augment my grasp of the message by inquiring "What did you say?"  I had a more detailed strategy of pointing out the word that I missed by saying something like "You are going to buy a red what?"   I soon got even more pesky than I usually am with too many checks, verifications, and inquiries.  It is too much of a chore to talk to an inquisitive interrogator instead of a person.  Lately, I have been just skipping most of what I didn't get.  

One result is that people can tell me something they are worried about or are ashamed of.  Maybe I don't even hear what they said.  They get a worried expression on their face and I know we are discussing something frightening or sad or shameful.  I don't know what and I am not going to interrupt with questions.  They've confessed their feelings, I have accepted them and served as a wise listener.  They have experienced a wise, older person listening to the problem and reacting with little or no shock.  Maybe life is not so bad, after all.

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