Two-eared perspective
August 9 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Two-eared perspective | Friday, Aug. 9, 2002

Friday, Aug. 9, 2002

Two-eared perspective

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

Some years ago, a decade-long bout with Miniere's Disease left me with little hearing in my right ear. Modern hearing aids are small and relatively effective, but also very expensive and incredibly easy for an absent-minded person to lose.

Since I fit into that category, I haven't bothered to replace the one I lost about 15 months ago, the second within a year.

There are some advantages to being nearly deaf in one ear. Noise is rarely a bother when trying to sleep, because I can turn my good ear to the pillow and enjoy the quiet.

But there are more disadvantages. I have to be careful to sit with my good ear facing others if I plan to participate in a conversation, and it's useless for anyone to try and whisper in my right ear.

The headphones I wear while jogging work well, but when the music is stereophonic, I miss part of the harmony. If dialogue is recorded on different tracks - as it often is in the musicals I favor - I barely hear half the speakers. Sometimes I turn the headphones around and listen again so I'll know what everyone is saying.

Sometimes I just miss things, and worry that I'll respond inappropriately (or not at all) when someone asks me a question.

Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of being one-eared, however, has to do with spatial perspective. The brain identifies the direction from which a sound comes by processing information based on the different times a sound signal is received by each ear. If only one ear gets the signal, there's not enough information to determine the source of a sound.

So, if someone calls my name or says something to me while I'm outdoors or in a large room, I can't tell where the sound is coming from. I have to stop and turn in a slow circle, looking for someone I recognize and hoping they will call again so I can locate them.

That loss of perspective can be embarrassing at times, potentially dangerous at others.

It has helped me, however, to appreciate the importance of a perspective that is informed by listening with both ears.

One who refuses to give careful consideration to differing points of view cannot appreciate others appropriately or gain needed perspective on important issues.

It concerns me that so many Baptists are convinced that they possess all the truths and that others' views are inconsequential. Unable or unwilling to hear and appreciate others, who hold differing views, they draw bolder battle lines and dig deeper trenches, belittling people they don't understand and isolating themselves from fellow believers whom God intended to be allies and friends.

As a result, kingdom growth is hampered, Christian fellowship is broken, unbelievers are puzzled and the adversary grins.

Perhaps that's why Jesus used the plural when He was prone to say, "He, who has ears to hear, let him hear."

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8/9/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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