You Can Overcome Listening Difficulties
If you can't hear others clearly, try using the following methods to overcome your hearing problems and improve your communication.
- Calm Down and Relax:
No one can hear every word that other people say in all circumstances. In noisy places, or when you are extremely tired, it is normal to miss some words. Tension and impatience may reduce your listening and comprehension capacity. Slow down and handle the situation calmly.
- Use Your Eyes and Ears Simultaneously and Guess while You Listen:
If there are some words that you can't hear clearly, try to guess by considering the lip movement, expression, gesture, tone, the circumstances and the context of the speech. That is why you should face the speaker directly during conversation, so that you can clearly see his/her facial expressions and lip movement.
- Shorten the Distance with the Speaker and Avoid Obstacles:
Try to move near the person who talks to you. Sit in the front row or close to the loudspeaker when you are in a classroom or a hall to ensure you can hear louder and clearer voices. The farther you are from the source of sound, the smaller the volume becomes, and the speaker's voice will become weaker, or even overwhelmed by noises and echoes. You should avoid talking with people through an obstacle (such as a door, wall or thick screen), because the loudness and clarity will be greatly reduced.
- Raise Questions to Clarify Misunderstanding:
Do not pretend you understand every word of the speaker. If you are not sure whether you have misunderstood the meaning or have made a wrong guess, you should take the initiative to clarify your problem and repeat what you have heard: "Did you mean…?" If you have missed something, you may ask in this way: "You have said that… (repeat what you have heard), what have you said after that? Is it… (tell the speaker what you have guessed based on the context and the lip movement of the speaker)…?" And don't just ask "What? What did you say?" habitually because people may mistakenly think that you have not paid attention.
- Try to Reduce Noises and Avoid Echoes:
When talking to other people, you should try to reduce ambient noises (such as turn down the TV volume or turn off noisy machines) or keep away from source of noises. A soft voice will be overwhelmed by noises. Even a person with good hearing can only hear up to 85% of other people's words in a noisy environment, and even less for a foreign language. In a spacious room with smooth walls, the echoes are more severe. A voice may become unclear if it overlaps with echoes. Try to avoid talking with people in a place with serious echoing effect. If there is no alternative, try to sit close to the speaker or close to a loudspeaker.
- Pay Attention to Current Affairs and Increase Your General Knowledge
Learn more about current affairs and up-to-date information so that you understand the topics and content of other people's talks more easily. Then, even if you are not able to hear clearly, you can guess the general idea of the talk. If you want to improve your listening skills for a certain language, you should watch/listen more to the news and informational programs conducted in that language, so as to improve your vocabularies and common phrases. Phonetic training may help improve spelling and writing and is also helpful to listening and language learning.