When you go on a hike on Heller Nature Center, you probably feel worn out afterward. For people with hearing loss, this feeling is common after a long conversation where you’re straining to hear and understand what is said. This phenomenon is known as listening fatigue. Below we review six active listening techniques to help combat listening fatigue.
1. Face Your Conversation Partner
The best way to follow along with what is being said is to face your conversation partner. Trying to have a conversation when walking side-by-side, or worse – from another room entirely – can make it hard for you to hear and impossible to follow visual cues like lipreading, facial expressions and gestures.
2. Turn Your “Good Ear” Toward the Speaker
Just like your feet are probably not the exact same size, your hearing ability is likely not equal in both ears, either. If you have one good ear, turn it toward the speaker so you can better hear what they’re saying.
3. Move Closer to the Speaker
The ideal distance between conversation partners is three to five feet. If you’re unsure if you’re standing too close for comfort, you can always ask.
4. Concentrate on What Is Being Said
Sometimes it’s all too easy to space off momentarily or get distracted when having a conversation. However, you should make an effort to follow along with what the speaker is saying. It’s harder to follow along when you’ve missed information.
5. Ask Clarification Questions
Conversations are a two-way street. If you feel confused about something or think you may have misheard what was said, ask the person you’re speaking with to clarify. It’s best to ask specific questions rather than simply saying “I didn’t catch that” or “I don’t follow.”
6. Communicate Your Needs
If you’ve had hearing loss for a while, you probably know what helps you hear and follow along better. Be sure to advocate for yourself and communicate your listening needs. Your conversation partner will be more than happy to accommodate you so that you both get the most out of your conversation. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call North Shore Audio-Vestibular Lab today.