Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Is Anyone Under 30 Listening?

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Dec 22, 2013 7:08 PM

The waiter gets the order backwards, the patient doesn't leave his phone number on the voicemail (as asked by the machine), the husband doesn't do the errand the wife asked for quite clearly, the pharmacist fills out the wrong prescription left on the answer machine, etc. These examples point to poor listening, and my observation is that it's more common than it was a generation ago. Why?

This generation has been raised on video-all kinds of screens, like TV, movies, videogames, texting, other phone apps, power point--lots of things to see. Very little is done by hearing and listening alone for most kids as they grow up. Even if there's a lecture at school, it's usually accompanied by visual aids anymore. Some of us listen to the radio a lot (NPR or music mostly) but that' s rare under age 30. Oh, yeah, young people listen to music a lot, but usually while doing something else, like exercise, homework, texting or shopping. Maybe they're not listening to the words that much.

Is it any wonder that ADHD is so overdiagnosed when paying attention and listening are among the main criteria? Who plays games in which they have to listen carefully to find hidden treasure or solve problems? How many of us love to listen to storytellers, let alone tell stories? I would love to bring listening back. I don't use power point. I try to engage the audience, whether just one patient, a small group or a class. Like obesity and smoking, though, I'm afraid it would take more than one generation to reverse the trend, if anyone is even listening.....

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