Trouble Hearing

Every Church I have led has had a person or a group of people who continually tell me they are having trouble hearing me preach.

Without exception, every one of these people has sat in the back row during worship. They would consistently pick the farthest point from the stage. Then regularly, they would tell me how I should speak up or that our sound system needed to be turned up louder. 

Several issues might be causing this problem. First, some people need to have their hearing checked or upgrade their hearing aids. But that is cost prohibitive for many older adults. Another issue is noise coming from some other source in the auditorium. Distractions can come from people getting up and down, coughing, or a baby crying. I have no control over those areas, but I understand they impact others’ ability to hear. Finally, I know there are mornings that our sound system is set a little low for some people to hear, and we could turn up the volume. 

I try to be gracious with everyone who complains about the sound. I do understand issues occur that make hearing difficult. My response is usually, “I am sorry, and I will look into how we can make it better.”

In every case, I have found that a straightforward solution seems to miss everyone. That is for the person to sit closer to the front so you can hear better. From there, you will listen to my actual voice and not what comes through the sound system. There are always chairs available near the front, and my words are always audible.   

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones that allude us. We tend to blame someone or something else for our issues. We can overthink the problem and look for complex answers that don’t exist. We can miss that some effort on our part could be the answer to our problems. 

Often the best way to handle our hearing troubles is to change our behavior. That truth applies to so much more than listening to a sermon. 

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