The second woman answered, “It’s not Wednesday. It’s Thursday!”
The third woman responded, “Yes, I’m thirsty too! Why don’t we get off at the next stop and get something to drink?”
Jokes about hearing can be funny. But hearing loss is no laughing matter. According to the latest statistics by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 36 million American adults report some degree of hearing loss. It is estimated that some 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud sounds or noise at work or in leisure activities. Around 4,000 new cases of sudden deafness occur each year in the United States.
The World Health Organization estimates 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. Half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention. What are the signs that you have a hearing loss problem?
Frequently asking people to repeat themselves, having to turn your ear toward a sound to hear it better, understanding people better when you look directly at their faces, having difficulty hearing in group conversations, keeping the volume on your radio or TV at a level that others say is too loud or having pain or ringing in your ears.
“People who see themselves in these statements should see an audiologist for a hearing test,” said Dr. Jerry Punch of the Oyer Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Michigan State University.
“Even a very slight hearing loss can have an impact on your daily life. Hearing loss is treatable and there is no reason for anyone to miss all the important sounds of life.”
Experts say very high noise levels, especially when prolonged, can permanently damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear, which cannot regenerate. Children are even more susceptible to hearing damage than adults. The consequences can be overwhelming. Regarding her experience with a friend who is hearing impaired, actress Marion Ross said, “The thing about hearing loss is that no one can see it. Most people are so impatient; they just assume that the person with hearing loss is being rude, or slow-witted.”
Not only is the ear responsible for hearing, but our inner ear is also responsible for our balance. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, “Balance and equilibrium help us stay upright when standing and know where we are in relation to gravity. Our balance system also helps us walk, run, and move without falling.”
That being the case, should we be equally concerned about our hearing in a spiritual sense? At Matthew 13:13-15, Jesus applied the words of Isaiah 6:9,10 to the unreceptive people in his day who heard the Word of God but allowed its message to fall on deaf ears.
Jesus said, “That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes — so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’” — New Living Translation.
Jesus healed the deaf. But those who were spiritually deaf refused to be healed, because they hardened their hearts and rejected who Jesus really was and what they needed to do. The vast majority had already made up their minds about Jesus and refused to listen to him with an open mind.
At Romans 11:8 the Apostle Paul said, “According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see and ears that they should not hear unto this day.” — KJV. God gave them what they wanted. Are most people any different today?
The Bible foretold at 2 Timothy 4:3: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” — New Living Translation
Have you noticed how some people will search until they find broad-minded teachers who will tell them what they want to hear rather than tell them the truth? Not true Christians. Hebrews 2:1 says, “So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it.” — New Living Translation.
Listening to God’s Word with spiritually sensitive ears can help us keep our spiritual balance and not drift away or stumble and fall. We can ask ourselves, when we read God’s Word, do we humbly listen to what it says and follow its counsel?
By paying attention to how we listen we can be certain that when the Fine Shepherd Jesus Christ calls, we will hear him.