7 Sure Fire Proven Ways to improve your listening skills in background noise
If you have a hearing loss, you try not to make your hearing loss a defining part of who you are. You want to stay engaged with your friends, family, jobs and interests. Exercising your hearing makes a big difference. Just as exercise can help muscles rebuild strength to regain or improve mobility, exercises in listening can improve auditory processing resulting in better understanding in difficult listening environments.
- Use all the technological tools you can. There are so many options available today but hearing at your best is a great beginning. The right technology will support you in different listening situations. This technology may or may not include hearing aids.
- Take your turn. Make sure that both you and the person you are talking with share equally in the conversation. Conversation is a two way street. Improve your skill by practicing having conversations at home with one other person and ensuring you are only talking 50 % of the time.
- Wait and watch for non verbal communication. What you hear is only 30% of the communication. Use your eyes to watch and pick up the additional information from gestures, facial expressions and eye movements.
- Sound isolation. This active listening exercise helps your brain practice recognizing sounds. Find a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes. Identify as many of the sounds in your environment as you can, then isolate each one and focus your attention on it for a few seconds.
- Selective listening is the act of hearing and interpreting only parts of a message that seem relevant to you, while ignoring or devaluing the rest. Often, selective listeners will form arguments before they’ve heard the full story, making them not only poor listeners, but poor speakers too! Be aware you are only catching part of the conversation, and seek clarification early on about what the topic is about. By practising asking different questions and showing interest in what is really being said, you will find that your ability to participate in a conversation improves.
- Listen for ideas, not just words. You need to get the whole picture, not just isolated bits and pieces. This is difficult, but practise listening to a dvd or recorded program a few times to concentrate on ignoring distractions and you will find with repetition your ability to understand will improve.
- Use a good brain training game recommended by an Audiologist. Today there are some amazing listening and communication programs available online today. Some are better than others as everyones needs are different. Your audiologist will be able to advise you on the best ones for you.
All these sure fire proven ways to improve your ability to listen and hear have one thing in common, you have to be willing to use and practice your skills.
This article was first published at hearingcareprofessionals.com.au. Nolene Nielson is an experienced Brisbane Audiologist whose independent audiology practice is part of a new direction in hearing health care.