Everyone can be helped to hear better by using 3 simple secrets to better hearing. This is true if you have normal hearing, a mild hearing loss that doesn’t require hearing aids or a more significant loss that does require them. In this article I will discuss how you hear; disclose the 3 simple secrets to better hearing; and show you how to apply them in difficult situations such as restaurants, parties, and family gatherings. I will also give you some important tips to improve family communication at home.
Hearing Happens In Your Brain, NOT your Ears!
Before we start, the first thing you must understand is that hearing happens in your brain, not in your ears! The ears send the message to your brain, where the information is combined with what you see and what you expect to hear. After the brain puts it all together we say that “we hear and understand what is said”. Some of the listening tips are going to deal with your ears, some with your eyes, and still others with your brain. We hear best when all three of these are working together and helping each other.
Secret #1: Reduce the Background Noise
The quieter it is, the better you are going to hear. So, reduce the noise! This is actually easier than you think. You can turn the TV down or off or choose to have conversations during the commercials and use the mute button. You can turn the faucet off. Water is a great masker of speech. Everyone has trouble hearing and understanding over the sound of running water. You can go into a quieter area or another room to get away from the noise. You can also move out of the center of a room and get near the wall. In large rooms the center is the noisiest area and the closer you are to the walls the quieter it gets.
Secret #2: Watch the Person Speaking
Your eyes and ears work together to give your brain the information it needs to “hear and understand”. Use your eyes to help you ear better. You can move in front of the person who is speaking so you have a clear view of their face. This helps you lip read as well as watch for facial expressions which add so much to our understanding of speech. You can ask the speaker to look at you and if necessary to move their hand away from their face. If they turn and start to walk away while they are still talking, ask them to come back and finish the conversation face to face.
Secret #3: Pay Attention
This is the brain part. Hearing happens in your brain and most of us cannot actively listen and understand speech while we are doing other things. So please, give the conversation your full attention by muting the TV, putting down the book you were reading, looking up from the newspaper, and stop knitting. If you give the conversation 100% of your attention you will hear much better.