Learning to listen to others is an art. It takes patience and practice to figure out our feelings and thoughts. With our busy lifestyles, we may tend to just talk off the top of our heads. Most of us have little time to stop and think about our thoughts. Most of us have less time to figure out our feelings. Taking the time to put our thoughts and feelings into words takes energy.
Professionally, I have had to learn to listen.
I have to listen to my patients to understand what they are trying to tell me. When someone is being fit with a hearing aid for the first time, they often say, “My voice sounds funny.” It’s my job to ask other questions so I can clearly understand what the person means by that statement:
Do they mean they are hearing an echo? Are they just not accustomed to hearing themselves? Does it sound as if they have a cold? Is their voice scratchy?
Clarifying the Message
Once I can figure out what the person is describing, I need to figure out what programming changes I need to make in the software. This is the fun part of my job, trying to put the puzzle together.
I have the joy of playing with the software and talking with the patient to solve their problem. This is a fun experience with a new hearing aid user, hearing sounds in my office for the first time.
Many times the person may say, “I hear a rushing sound.” I get visibly excited when someone says this! I am excited that they can hear the heater fan or the air conditioner fan running. This is a wonderful experience for myself, the family member, and the patient.
For the patient to realize that they are hearing something that was present, but had not heard before is fabulous.
I have the joy of watching and listening as people hear a family member’s voice clearly and distinctly for the first time in ages. It is wonderful to be a part of that scene, to see a wife, a grandmother, or an aging uncle beam with joy. It is such fun to be part of the conversation when the family member no longer has to talk loudly. The family member is thrilled to be able to talk in a normal tone of voice to their parent or other loved one.
I can see an immediate improvement in communication when the hard of hearing person can hear easily. I can see the person’s face and whole body relax. And, the family member relaxes too. I can see communication begin to blossom.
Listening implies that one can hear what is being said. When I can help someone hear better, they can learn to listen again.
It is so important to have your hearing tested if you are unable hear what others are saying. Once the hearing is improved, listening should become easier and more rewarding.
*images courtesy wikimediacommons.org, wikipedia.org