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Phones and Auditory Processing Disorder

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 8:02 pm
by madame_tigre
Got a bit of a problem here. I am working in admin, but I'm terrified of phones - they are monsterous! The reason of this problem runs a lot deeper than shyness. I have speech problems and when I'm nervous and have to speak I come out with such random and non-sensical rubbish.

A couple of days ago, when I was looking at speech disorder sites on the web, I came across yet another little known and invisible disability called 'Auditory Processing Disorder'. I looked at the symptoms and think I may have a form of this.

APDUK states that processing-impaired individuals will have trouble with phones and have difficulty understanding degraded systems which will make the phone conversations complicated. No facial or body cues can help compensate what has not been processed either

I'm going through a crisis at work. I have no log in at the moment, and a lot of the work is computer-based, so i don't have much to do. I'll ask my supervisor, but there isn't really anything apart from ringing up I.T to see how they're getting on with my log in, I dread doing this but I fear that I'd seem like an awkward girl with a bad attitude if I say no. I dial the number, nut thankfully all the agents are busy, afterwards I go to the toilet and notice that I have completely got the jellies and am shaking all over. The same thing happens when I hear the phone ring, I feel like it's a lion trying to attack me and eat me up. I really don't think this is normal behaviour, nor a mild phobia!

Do you think I'm choosing the wrong career option? I don't see why I can't just communicate with people through e-mail, letters and depending on the situation face-to-face. Can anyone get excused from making and answering telephone calls? Will I fail the whole course, just because I struggle with this one aspect? Maybe, when hell freezes over I'll sound articulate and confident on the phone, but I havedoubts.

I apologise, I'm waffling. I just needed to write all this down before I explode. Does anybody have similar problems?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 9:09 pm
by Phil
Do not worry about waffing on I understand some of the points because I am like this some of the time

I also have the dreadful fear of phones - answering the phone and phoning people up (not helped much thanks too a couple of lads making prank phones calls to my house)

So far in the jobs I have had I have not have to use the phone only when my job employment has phoned up to see how the job is going, or where I posted my p45 a couple of weeks since I posted it in the wrong door.

I get nervous on the phone and always get my words tangled up - I sound like a drunken animal

Now on the communication side of things I prefer emails but sometimes some people do not always checked/reply to their emails - mainly I have find this in the job agencies I have applied for jobs for (sorry if you work in an job employment agency or know someone who works in one)

I have not had really have to write a letter whilst being in a company - apart from applying for jobs

I do not think you will fail the course because you are struggling in this one apsect.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 9:46 pm
by parnassus
I have done a little research into Auditory Processing Disorder, though I don't know much. It seems to be common in people with autism, dyspraxia, and some kinds of dyslexia.

But I don't know whether the fear of phones is a symptom of APD or a manifestation of dyspraxic social differences. I am nervous about communicating with other people, full stop. On the telephone, that fear is exacerbated because I have nothing to distract me from the enormity of the undertaking - this is me, trying to connect with another person, and that's frightening. I like to be left alone. Having another person's voice pouring into my ear doesn't gel with that.

I am very articulate on these forums, and I can confidently give presentations or speeches in front of a group. It's small talk that precipitates my social 'death'. I interact very differently, and I'm never more aware of this than when I'm on the phone.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 9:52 pm
by parnassus
On a more practical aside, I think you do need good telephone skills if you're going to work in admin. Telephoning is speedier than written or electronic correspondence, so most people prefer to pick up the phone and dial.

But this doesn't mean you should change jobs. Why not go to a few social skills training lessons or assertiveness workshops? If you can't find any in your area, you could do some telephone role-plays with a close friend, colleague or family member, re-enacting the kind of scenarios you might have to face at work. Pretend you are telephoning I.T. Support about your log-in. I bet the real conversation won't be any different to your 'rehearsal'. Try this before you do anything else.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2005 2:14 pm
by Xx_vampire_xX
I understand 100% how you feel I have just finished my 2 weeks training for a job in Admin and I am dreading useing the phone. My social skills are very poor and it makes it worse for useing the phones. I can even phone people at home I think its the fear of dialing the wrong number and having that scary pause were no one says anything and your thinking in your mind say somthing say somthing. Dont worry your not on your own with this problem.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:43 am
by Thirteen-thirty-seven
I think you should see a GP and ask him/her to arrange some kind of test to see if you really do have ADP, then you will be able to have some kind of therapy to help you.
I agree with Vicky that your social awkwardness probably exacerbates the problem. I think there's also a problem with self-belief. You have convinced yourself that you cannot use the phone, so you become so frightened that you cannot cope at all. Your problems are real, I'm not suggesting otherwise, but I think your lack of confidence makes it worse. This is the website of an organisation which may be able to help you.
I agree with what Vicky said about small-talk. It is like another language to me. Luckily, I have friends who feel the same way, who I can talk to easily.


PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:33 pm
by k9ruby
I know what you mean, i can ring people i know, but i feel shy ringning to check whether somethings instock, or even directory enquires!!!


PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2005 6:36 pm
by k9ruby
I know what you mean, i can ring people i know, but i feel shy ringning to check whether somethings instock, or even directory enquires!!!

I also find that if i'm nervous with a teacher at school, i have to force the words out and my speech goes all jittery and i can't make eye contact with certain people i don't know very well, or don't get on with (it makes my eyes feel as though they're burning, feel weird)

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:25 pm
by C
Yeah, I'm the same, I hate phoning people or answering the phone, evne people I know quite well because I'm scared I'll make a fool of myself and because of the 'long pauses' that may happen when neither me nor the other person can think of anything to say. Not being able to see the other persons body language makes it all the more daunting.

What I do is, I try to write down a rough transcript of the call and what is to be discussed that I can look at for assistance. Even though I get scared, telephone communication is rarely as bad as I feared, in fact it can even go well!!!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:53 pm
by madame_tigre
Thanks for all the responses. Phones do seem to be a bit of a Dyspraxic nightmare. I'm going to follow the advice you have given me and try to take each day as it comes. Maybe there is hope after all!

PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:13 pm
by parnassus
Good luck, Rosanna!

Not being able to see the other persons body language makes it all the more daunting.

I have huge difficulties with body language, so I actually prefer to be able to concentrate solely on the voice. Face-to-face communication is always excruciating (unless we are talking about one of my obsessions, such as books or certain periods of history). At least people try to speak very clearly when they are on the phone. In person, they don't usually take the trouble - they expect you to be able to read their faces and interpret their gestures, which I often struggle with. But as I have said before, there are no distractions when you are on the phone. Ouch.

I can't decide which mode of communication is best...


PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:53 pm
by k9ruby
Email and msn!

No more body langauge!

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 7:19 pm
by parnassus
E-mail is lovely. But when you try talking to someone on MSN, most of them will insist on sticking those ridiculous emoticons all over the place. I like the ones on this forum, because if you move your cursor over them a little label pops up to tell you what they all mean, but MSN doesn't do that.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 8:33 pm
by madame_tigre
**UPDATE!** - Just wanting to share my minor acheivement with you all!

I answered the phone for the first time in the office this afternoon! Well, nobody else was in the room and the ringing sound was doing my head in so I just grabbed a pen and paper and answered the 'monster'

All I did was take a message, and I think this will be a lot easier than giving out information. I don't know how I sounded on the phone - probably very dodgy and unprofessional but at least I finally had the courage.

My concentration was poor for the rest of the afternoon, but at least I did it, and if I do it more my confidence will increase and I'll be able to survive almost anything!

I did it! I did it! I did it! :D

PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:02 pm
by parnassus
Well done! :D Mabrouk! Felicitations! Merveilleuse!