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We would actually like to hear what you say

13 May 2009


From Mr Eric Dare

Sir, — Although I have no need of hearing aids, I have a great deal of sympathy with the Revd Brian Cranwell (“If people have ears to hear, let them listen”, Comment, 1 May), and the advice to put microphone practice on the syllabus of theological colleges.

What he failed to mention, however, and what is not easy to prepare for, is the acoustic of a building. Truro Cathedral, for instance, is superb for (un­accompanied) singing, but very difficult for speech. We have been addressed by many professional speakers — broadcasters, politicians, actors — besides experienced preachers, including visiting deans and bishops, who have been either incomprehensible by speaking too quickly, or unheard by not gauging the power needed for the building. And what succeeds in a full house may not do so half filled. Fortunately, our new bishop has no problem.

29 Treworder Road
Cornwall TR1 2JZ

From Mrs Hazel Whittaker

Sir, — I fully agree with the Revd Brian Cranwell regarding hearing difficulties for the deaf and the way leaders of services or meetings speak. I have had Ménière’s syn­drome for 51 years, and, as I was told, have become progressively voice deaf.

As a clergy widow, I find church services and meetings increasingly difficult. Even with a loop system, I cannot distinguish one word from another as speakers rush on.

Before marriage, I was a teacher, and was trained to speak slowly and clearly. Clergy need to be given more training in public speaking, and then they can pass it on to those who help them.

16 Trinity Drive
Via Carnforth LA6 1QL

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