Ineffective listening is one of the most expensive human shortcomings in today’s world. It reduces productivity, endangers relationships, exacerbates conflicts, impedes finding solutions, and has an unaccountable cost in both real dollars and human lives.(Adapted from quote by Dr. Manny Steil)

While we tend to equate the words listening and hearing, they are very different. Hearing is about sounds while listening is about understanding. Hearing is one of our senses. We hear 24/7 and have no facility to turn it off. Listening, on the other hand, is a choice. We have to choose to listen and when we do, we engage a series of very complex cognitive process, any one which could degrade and cause a problem with understanding.

Listening Disorders include the problems evolving from physiological, cognitive, and psychological issues. Additionally, there are barriers to effective listening that include such issues as room acoustics and the speaker’s understandability. These disorders and barriers impede our ability to fully understand what is being said to us.

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Listening Rehab

Hearing Aids will help you hear better. To listen better you need to retrain your brain to understand a whole new set of sounds.

I Can Hear You Talking But I Can’t Understand The Words You’re Saying

I can hear you whispering in my ears
The warmth of your breath and the sweetness, the smell of you
I instinctively know what you’re saying
I think
But I can’t understand the words you’re saying

I move to the front of the classroom
can hear much better from there
I watch carefully to see what you’re saying
To try to gain meaning from the sounds
But I can’t understand the words you’re saying

We hold each other tight as we watch a movie on TV
You giggle as the characters tell a funny story
I turn up the volume and try to catch more of the dialogue
The sounds get louder
But I still can’t understand the words they’re saying

The phone rings and I don’t want to answer it
Its painful to listen to the person on the other end
I hear the sounds of conversation but only pieces of the words
Its too difficult to grasp for a meaning
Because I can’t understand the words they’re saying

Conversations are too challenging so I avoid them
Leaving my friends and family to wonder what’s wrong
I’ve withdrawn into myself, not wanting to see anyone
For fear of hearing them talk
Because I can’t understand the words they’re saying

All’s quiet, not because I can’t hear, I really can
But the sounds are meaningless mumbles, frustratingly difficult to decipher
I hide from everyone so as not to appear disconnected or unintelligent
Dealing with the noise and chatter is too much, the quiet is easier
Because I can’t understand the words you’re saying

©2009 Alan R. Ehrlich (all rights reserved)