Remember, the key to good listening is not in the ears but deeper in the brain. And as such, improving your listening skills hardly needs any form of ear surgery.
In fact, having ears that are too sensitive may very well result in even more listening difficulties as they will stress out your brain from sensory overload.
On the other hand, you might be wondering what kind of brain exercises do you need that would somehow result in better listening skills? Are there apps for it? Are they expensive?
The answer is that there are a reliable number of brain training programs that certainly do. However, if you think you may not be ready for them, then don’t worry! Good listening can still start with just some low-key, inexpensive habits that can help increase awareness of what your ears pick up.
1. Spend more time in quieter spaces.
In a world as busy as ours, the noise in our environment can almost be palpable. It is certainly not the ideal starting ground for someone who wants to be more aware of what they are hearing.
That is why finding quieter spots can be good exercise for the listening function of your brain.
Of course, you won’t just be walking or sitting around doing nothing once you find a peaceful place in your routine. Try to focus on your ears on sounds you never really paid attention to before. It can be just the sound of birds in the park, or maybe some children in the playground.
Take your time to really concentrate on a particular sound for a few minutes and then move on to another source. You can even incorporate some breathing exercises into this to help keep your mind clear and just focus on what you are hearing.
2. Start listening to a different type of music.
If you tend to be a fan of just one or two genres how about listening to something completely different?
It may seem like you’re just looking to try something new, but that by itself is why it can be very good for improving your brain (especially when it comes to listening). New songs means new rhythms, styles and beats that your brain will be exercising to appreciate.
Alternatively, you can take it up further and actually practice an instrument (or even a different one if you’re already musically-inclined). Activating new pathways in your mind will no doubt help you improve the way you appreciate sound.
3. Be more conscious of your stress levels.
Lastly, it helps to always remember that stress negatively impacts all functions that rely on the brain (listening included). All it takes is for you to have it in high enough levels to start misinterpreting the words people say, or attributing bad intentions to them.
On the other hand, you should also remember that this is not purely a matter of psychology. The effects of stress are very, very much a physical phenomenon in your brain and it has been documented.
So, when things get hectic or when conversations get a little too heated, know when to pause and learn how to calm yourself down. There is a lot of energy rushing in your brain when emotions run high, and being conscious of it can help you manage control to still keep on listening.
Overall, each of these three habits can go a long way in adding up to the improvements of your listening skills whether you are going for a full program or just want more clarity in conversation. How about starting them today?
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