In order to learn English, I had believed until recently that the most important ablity would be reading, and then writing – if you couldn’t hear someone, you could beg him to repeat it slower.
I remember when I was in a concert of a guitarist Steve Howe in a small club in Tokyo. It was more than ten years ago. He was talking on the stage, but I couldn’t understand him, for he spoke so fast. Then I said to him loud, “Steve! Will you speak more slowly?”. The audience laughed, but Steve was very kind to say “OK!” and then started to speak slowly.
This heart-warming episode had made me confirmed with my idea.
But recently I have found, that there are so many automatic instructions by voice, like help systems by telephone, podcasts, recorded guidances in exhibitions, etc. It’s difficult, or not flexible, to ask them to repeat or play slowly. Though I still believe reading is most important, I have started to think that listening should be put more weight on.