Trivial matters are handled promptly, important matters are never solved
- have difficulty hearing over the telephone?
- frequently complain that you don't comprehend what people are saying?
- have to ask people to repeat themselves in committee meetings?
- not laugh at jokes because you don't get the punchline?
- find people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?
Of course it's quite certain there is no problem whatsoever with your hearing. It must be that people around you are mumbling and not speaking clearly. Or, worse, it could be that they have laryngitis or are losing their voices.
Your coworkers and family obviously need to have their voices evaluated. They should all be urgently seen by their General Practitioner for referral to a speech therapist or throat specialist.
Q: Why are people around me losing their voices?
A: Voice loss happens for many reasons (i.e. doctors do not know why it happens). One reason for voice loss may be exposure to too many environmental factors. This condition is known as environmentally-induced voice loss. As well as family and coworkers, many shop assistants, bank clerks, waiters, bus drivers, airport workers, first generation immigrants and foreigners have voice problems because of too much exposure to environmental factors. Voice loss can also be caused by a virus or bacteria, heart conditions or stroke, head injuries, tumours, and certain medicines.
Q: Do people lose their voices as they age?
A: It's true that most people's voices get quieter as they get older. For the average person, maximum speaking impairment occurs during teen years and it may be particularly difficult for teenagers to make themselves understood to adults at this time of life. People who are not exposed to noise and are otherwise healthy, generally keep their speaking voices until they die.
Q: How often should their voices be tested?
A: Anyone who notices a change in his/her hearing (or who develops tinnitus) should have his/her colleagues' voices checked. People who have healthy voices and who are not exposed to environmental factors should get a test every three years.