Last week I met with my doctor to go over the results of an MRI, ordered to try and determine the cause behind a greater hearing loss in my left ear. The concern when there is a difference in hearing levels between the two ears, which are meant to work in tandem, is the presence of an Acoustic Neuroma, a non-cancerous tumor, that while slow growing, over time can cause serious problems. My doctor was quite certain that I didn’t have one, but offered me the choice to have the scan or not. Wanting the peace of mind that comes from having the necessary information, I opted for the test.
In the exam room, after a warm handshake and a little conversation about our shared love of winter sports, he got right down to it. The images confirmed his suspicion. There was no growth, and in fact nothing of concern, all of which could have been communicated via email or phone. However, apparently there were additional results from the test that someone somewhere in the medical stratosphere deemed necessary to include on the report, and without an explanation, might have sounded serious and scary.
In other words, the report suffered from TMI.
His explanation put my mind at ease, which is what we both wanted out of the MRI in the first place, and while the other results were mildly interesting, it was information that I didn’t really need, but because it was included on the report I got it anyway.
How often do we share information just because we can? Provide too many unnecessary details? Go to great lengths to explain something, instead of getting straight to the point? Use a conversation to demonstrate our knowledge rather than to deepen a connection? Disclose details that aren’t ours to share?
Information may be power, but too much of it can be hard on our hearing.