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Author Topic: I can't actually hear you.  (Read 3469 times)

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LadyL

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I can't actually hear you.
« on: February 17, 2013, 02:28:03 PM »
This is fairly minor but I was wondering how others would handle it. My fiance LordL is a bit soft spoken, and like me can be a bit socially awkward at times. Sometimes I give him feedback on his behavior especially if it affects me and is easily correctable (i.e. if someone asks him a question and he doesn't hear them). I try not to criticize him if what he's doing is more of a pet peeve (i.e. if I feel like he is taking too long to wrap up a story and the person he's talking to is losing interest) because it makes him more self conscious and therefore awkward in the long term.

The current situation is that he gets his hair cut by a friend of ours, Stephanie. The salon is a busy, rock 'n roll kind of atmosphere with music playing plus the usual salon noise of blowdryers and such. Usually after his haircuts he comes home and I ask how Stephanie is doing and he tells me a little about their conversations - they  tend to end up talking about pretty random topics, like obscure historical periods and such.

Well, last night over drinks Stephanie confessed that because LordL is so soft spoken she can't actually hear everything he says while she cuts his hair. She has to lean in and have him repeat himself which, done repeatedly, makes the haircut appointment run too long - so she sometimes just says "mm hmm" or something noncommittal when she doesn't actually know what he just said.

My question is, should I relay this information to LordL? Stephanie didn't swear me to secrecy, but I know he'd be a bit embarrassed to know that he missed the cues that she can't hear him (knowing him she may have asked him to repeat himself several times or even said "sorry, I can't hear you" and he would still keep talking in the same low tone). But if I don't say anything obviously it will probably keep happening. I mostly feel like I should tell him but was wondering what the etiquette perspective is here.

NyaChan

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2013, 02:42:41 PM »
I would just leave it as is.  No need to cast an anxious light over what he probably thinks were nice interactions with someone.  If I were Stephanie (and this actually happens to me a lot for some reason lol), I would just think of it as a funny quirk of chatting with this particular person rather than as a problem to solve. 

Iris

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2013, 02:46:45 PM »
I wouldn't say anything about Stephanie. In my experience softly spoken people never change in a specific circumstance, even when they are trying, so it's probably not worth making him self conscious for. If he is badly softly spoken it might be worth mentioning it between the two of you whenever you can't hear him. It depends - if he is audible in a regular environment I wouldn't overly worry to be honest. Stephanie could turn the music down I guess if it were that important.

I will admit softly spoken people who can't be heard in a normal environment drive me bats. I let a friendship peter out because I was so tired of conversations being sheer hard work for me - leaning forward, straining to hear what they said, asking them to repeat themselves - while they seemed to make NO effort to raise their voice, lean forward or whatever in return. In the end I figured if they wanted me to hear what they had to say they'd make an effort and just went with "Hmmm-mmm".
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

Katana_Geldar

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 03:14:39 PM »
I am remembered the puffy shirt...

CocoCamm

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 04:05:47 PM »
GRRR...the soft talker, almost as annoying as the close talker. My opinion is that if you are engaging in conversation with someone it is only polite to speak clearly and at a volume that can be heard by those you are conversing with otherwise it takes the fun out of the conversation for the other parties and becomes a chore like a PP mentioned.

I dont think I would repeat what Stephanie told you but I would say something to him as it happens during conversations you have together or mention it in passing after a get together where you directly witnessed the behavior. I would stress that communication is important in every area of life and he should really make an effort to make sure that people can hear/understand him when he speaks.

oceanus

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2013, 09:41:56 PM »
I am remembered the puffy shirt...
;D
Yes, the low-talker.  Everytime I see that Seinfeld rerun I crack up.

SPuck

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2013, 09:52:32 PM »
I go to a monthly Aspeger's meeting, and when one of the girls is prompted to talk it's like you are making her pay a dollar for every word, she just doesn't speak clearly prompted or put on the spot. On the other hand when she initiates conversation she speaks pretty clearly. Since he is your partner I would work on the speaking softly aspects in generals and not specifics, it might make it worse.

Raintree

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 12:00:29 AM »
I can't hear a word my dad is saying most of the time. He's hard of hearing and his voice sounds perfectly loud to him, or perhaps he is overcompensating as he doesn't want others to think he's shouting. I am not sure. But it's getting worse and worse. It has not always been this way.

Rather than ask him to repeat specific things constantly, I say, "Can you talk louder? I can barely hear you."

Daydream

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 12:14:36 AM »
I agree with not bringing up the conversation with Stephanie so as not to make your fiancé self-conscious or reluctant to continue to have his hair cut by her.  I would continue to mention the problem to him in other situations, though. 

If you think it’s appropriate, I would suggest to Stephanie that she handle it in the same way I think she should with any other soft-spoken customer.  She should say to him, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you well from here with all the noise.”  Then she can add, “Let’s talk when I’m done,” or just go ahead and have a brief conversation with him when they are standing face to face and she can hear him better. 

I realize this might make the appointment less pleasant and social for your fiancé.  But, since he is going to the salon which is a place of business, I think there should be less expectation of chatting anyway than there would be if she was cutting his hair in his home, for instance.

I have an older relative who says she’s had this problem her whole life.  When I ask her to speak up more, she’ll say a few words louder, then the volume quickly goes back down to her regular low level.  She says her elementary school teachers used to tell her to speak up and she just couldn’t do it. 

When she “yells,” it just sounds light and shaky.  So, I guess there really are people who can’t change this -- at least not on their own.  I hope that is not the case for your fiancé, though. 

Zilla

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 10:30:13 AM »
I am surprised Stephanie  told you this.  If her salon is noisy, Lord L can't be the only client she has that she can't hear them.  In fact I just texted my mom who used to be a hairdresser and she too said that 70 percent of her clients, she can't hear them and just goes along.   I would actually tell Stephanie that as she gets Lord L from the waiting room, explain that she is interested in what he has to say but that the salon is super loud and to please speak up. 


And why can't Stephanie simply say this without having to confess to you?  Does Lord L have issues that make it uncomfortable for her to approach him?  You mention you have to give alot of feedback and help him with social cues which isn't common.  If there is an additional issue, then I can understand why Stephanie felt the need to confess as she doesn't know how to approach him. 
« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 10:43:45 AM by Zilla »

DottyG

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2013, 10:42:23 AM »
Quote
And why can't Stephanie simply say this without having to confess to you?

This is what I was wondering.  All Stephanie has to do is say, "I'm sorry, the noise level in here makes it hard to hear you.  Could you talk in a louder voice?"  She didn't need to come tell you about it; she should be able to handle it on her own.  As such, I'd stay out of it.  If she wants to hear him, she'll take care of it herself.  You don't need to be involved.

And some people do talk in a low voice.  They're not doing it to annoy you (generalizing here - some may be, but I'm assuming they're the exceptions - and those people are going to be jerks in other areas of their lives as well anyway).  They may be hearing themselves as too loud, so they think they need to soften their voice, they may have been told that they talk too loudly as children and are now not realizing that they went the other way, who knows.  Just tell someone you can't hear them.  You can say it nicely as many times as you need to.


LadyL

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2013, 10:59:49 AM »

And why can't Stephanie simply say this without having to confess to you?  Does Lord L have issues that make it uncomfortable for her to approach him?  You mention you have to give alot of feedback and help him with social cues which isn't common.  If there is an additional issue, then I can understand why Stephanie felt the need to confess as she doesn't know how to approach him.

Stephanie had just gotten off work after a long day and I was sympathizing with her about how it must be draining to both cut hair and also have to be "on" socially all day. The somewhat funny thing is that Stephanie didn't tell LordL directly because she also considers herself a bit socially awkward  :D.  I think she just didn't want to make LordL feel bad (similar to how I feel). We were commiserating about how not being extroverts affects our ability to be in a customer service type position.

Zilla

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2013, 11:09:22 AM »

And why can't Stephanie simply say this without having to confess to you?  Does Lord L have issues that make it uncomfortable for her to approach him?  You mention you have to give alot of feedback and help him with social cues which isn't common.  If there is an additional issue, then I can understand why Stephanie felt the need to confess as she doesn't know how to approach him.

Stephanie had just gotten off work after a long day and I was sympathizing with her about how it must be draining to both cut hair and also have to be "on" socially all day. The somewhat funny thing is that Stephanie didn't tell LordL directly because she also considers herself a bit socially awkward  :D .  I think she just didn't want to make LordL feel bad (similar to how I feel). We were commiserating about how not being extroverts affects our ability to be in a customer service type position.


Then I would definitely tell Stephanie to mention it directly to Lord L if it happens again and not make a vague comment.  You can also give her valuable feedback on it's okay to be direct in a situation like that.

DottyG

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Re: I can't actually hear you.
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 12:28:44 PM »
^ That