Everything You Need To Know About Brain Hearing & Listening Training
Did you know that hearing isn't all about the ears? It has more to do with our brains than what our ears pick up.
As the brain is the key to your listening skills, people who are hard of hearing can find it challenging to focus on sounds and get distracted when there are too many sounds at once. For example, people with hearing loss can find it challenging to differentiate the sounds of different pitches.
Background noise, in particular, can cause difficulties as your brain will find it hard to process what you're picking up if you're hard of hearing. For example, it can be challenging to hear people from a distance or if they're facing away from your direction while speaking. If you're hard of hearing or deaf, the speech, even if it's reaching you, might be picked up, but it won't be understood and translated by your brain.
There are a few ways you can improve your listening skills and brain hearing. This includes using hearing aids, learning easy-to-implement tips, and going through aural rehabilitation. Today, we're going to go through each one of these, so you can figure out how best to improve your brain's hearing and listening skills.
What do hearing aids do?
Your hearing aids are an amazing device that will help you hear and understand sounds more easily. But what can they actually do? There's often a bit of misconception about what hearing aids can do; to clear up any confusion, we’ve outlined below how your hearing device can help improve your listening skills.
Your hearing aid can:
- Amplify soft sounds that were originally difficult to hear
- Keep sounds at a volume that's comfortable for you
- Help you hear a conversation at a normal volume
- Allow you to listen to conversations at a reasonable distance
- Improve your ability to hear better in areas with noise
Your hearing aid cannot:
- Help you hear around corners
- Help you hear at great distances
- Remove all background noises
- Allow you to hear only voice
- Improve focus or attention
- Improve clarity of whispered speech or speech you’re unfamiliar with, like people speaking with accents
Hearing aids are great for improving your listening capabilities, but they aren't the solution for everything. By adding in some easy listening tips, you'll be able to further improve your listening.
Tips to improve brain hearing and listening skills for listeners and speakers
Listening takes a lot of effort, especially when our hearing systems are impaired. If you're deaf or hard of hearing or you're with someone who is, take a look at these tips for speakers and listeners. They'll help you make your conversations easier, so both of you can enjoy your time together!
Tips for the listener
As a listener, you must do what you can to improve your listening skills as much as possible. Here are a few tips to make your listening easier during the conversation.
- Move closer to the speaker—8 feet or less is ideal
- Have the conversation in a closed environment. This reduces the amount of background noise
- Avoid reverberant or echoey rooms to make it easier for you to pick up what’s being said
- Don’t pretend that you’ve understood what was said when you didn’t. This will only confuse you more later on. Instead, ask the speaker to repeat what they said or ask them to speak more clearly
- Always advocate for yourself and make the speaker aware when you’re having difficulty understanding the conversation
Tips for the speaker
When you're speaking to a person who's deaf or hard of hearing, it's important to do what you can to make the conversation as easy as possible for them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when speaking.
Always get their attention first and make sure they’re facing you and you’re facing them when speaking
- Stand close together—again, 8 feet or closer is ideal
- Never shout your words as this, despite what people think, can actually distort your speech
- Get rid of any background distractions
- State the topic at the start of the conversation
- Don’t add any spontaneous discussions. Stay on topic or let them know when you’re changing topics
- Make sure they can see your face clearly
- Pause briefly between the main pieces of content so they can digest what’s been said
- Always be concise
- Ask what is helpful to make it easier for them to understand and listen
- Be empathetic
- Be willing to jump in and help with any difficult situations
- Strategize together before you go out with them and anticipate any conversational difficulties
What is aural rehabilitation and how does it help?
Aural rehabilitation focuses on the reduction of hearing-loss-induced deficits of function, activity, and participation. It also focuses on quality of life through a combination of sensory management, instruction, perceptual training, and counseling.
What are the benefits of aural rehabilitation?
Aural rehabilitation has many benefits, including the following three:
- Helps you become a more effective hearing technology user
- Improves your communication strategy skills
- Assists with your personal adjustment to living with hearing loss
How Amptify can help your aural rehabilitation
Amptify is a computer program that consists of a variety of auditory training games that are designed specifically for strengthening listening skills. It was developed by Nancy Tye Murray, PhD, a well-known aural rehabilitation researcher.
The skills that the auditory training game focuses on are:
- Speech discrimination
- Auditory memory
- Auditory processing speed
Amptify can be easily accessed on your smartphone, iPad, computer, laptop, or tablet, and it's the perfect program to help hearing aid users improve their listening skills.
We hope our blog has helped you learn some brain-hearing and listening training tips. If you're wondering whether you're hard of hearing, our team can help you with a thorough hearing test.
Click here to schedule a hearing test with one of our audiologists or call 916.646.2471 today.
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