'You listen too slowly'

I once had a friend who taught Spanish. Invariably, her students would say to her, “you talk too rapidly.” Her response was always, “no, you listen too slowly.” Well recently I encountered an English speaker like this. She just talked a mile a minute. Even after I pleaded with her to talk slower, there was not much difference.
And forget about attempting to decipher one of her telephone messages. Ordinarily this would be a minor problem but in this instance she’s a nurse and I do need to be able to communicate with her. If she spoke Spanish, I would beg her: “Hable más despacio, por favor. No entiendo lo que dice.”
Any advice?

There was a time nice a time would be to polite to confront anyone that I’d didn’t understand, not anymore if necessary I will demand to talk to a supervisor or manager.

1 Like

Amen to that, today I asked a person to slow the tempo of their speech; but it had no effect. I had to break off that conversation.

I have never really run into this problem. If a person speaks too fast then I ask them to say it again. If that doesn’t work then I just have a great day and a better tomorrow.


IMHO, all health care professionals need to be trained to speak more clearly, as many/most of their current patients have some level of hearing loss, and a misunderstanding puts patients at risk. During a recent visit to my PCP, I realized that I was understanding virtually everything she said, even wearing a mask, which was a huge contrast to recent contacts with other healthcare professionals. The ability to clearly understand people is becoming one of my criteria for choosing any service provider that I expect to see on a regular basis. I just changed hair stylists and that was one of my deciding factors. While there is certainly little risk in not understanding a hair stylist’s every word, going to the new stylist will now be a much more comfortable and even enjoyable experience. I’d rather give my money to providers who make an effort to accommodate me. I guess I’m just losing patience with people who know I have a hearing loss but basically ignore it.

They need to remember that this is the first time the patient in front of them has heard this. They may say this boring aftercare speech 15 times a day for several years and rattle it off, but they need to deliver it like it’s the first time. I had a small surgery and they went wibble wibble at me and pushed me out the door with some leaflets. Thankfully I can read complex instructions in English, but that’s hardly a given.

Minimum entry requirements for an ENT are large beard, quiet deep voice, thick accent of any variety and inability to look at you. You’d think they would know most of all.

Same with people who pick up the phone and say “wbvhlhggggggmhhggg, ghrxxxxyh speaking” - YOU know you’re saying X bank or Y retail establishment, but that’s not evident to anyone else!