Do You Hear Voices?

One of the symptoms that can get people taken out of the general population and put into a much smaller, controlled group is “hearing voices.” Although much less prohibitive but certainly disconcerting in small-group discussions and private conversations, “hearing voices” identifies poor listeners, people who may hear the sounds of the voice but don’t decipher the speaker’s message. Their sanity may be intact, but their communication problems are often caused by this internal noise. This includes planning their own speaking at the expense of the speaker.

We often attach to the names or memories of these people labels such as “poor listener,” “poor communicator,” and “self-absorbed.” For these impaired listeners, the other person’s verbal contribution is as unintelligible as the rat-tat-tat of a woodpecker or the sisssss of air escaping from a balloon.

Listening is a full-body experience. Yes, the sounds entering through the ear are valuable to conversation. However, productive listening also engages the hearer’s eyes and hands to gauge the speaker’s emotion.

For example, the words “I understand” take on new meaning when other sensory processing is engaged:

  • A hand gently placed on the shoulder quickly enables the hearer to note the added information trying to pierce the speaker’s knotted muscles.
  • Touching the hand of the speaker and finding them to be cold and clammy certainly adds to the information gained through the hearer’s ears.

The boxed material will help you to gauge whether you are “hearing voices” or truly connecting with the speaker.
 

Am I Listening Productively or Just Hearing Things?
 

 

Usually

Sometimes

Seldom

1. I face the speaker and position myself where I read body language.

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2. I watch the speaker as well as listen.

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3. I decide the worth of the message by the speaker’s appearance and delivery.

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4. I listen primarily for ideas and underlying feelings.

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5. I determine my own biases, if any, and try to factor them in my analysis of the speaker’s communication.

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6. I focus on what the speaker is saying.

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7. I interrupt immediately if I hear a statement I believe is wrong.

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8. I make sure, before answering, that I understand the other person’s point of view.

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9. I try to have the last word.

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10. I make a conscious effort to evaluate the logic and credibility of what I hear.

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My Listening Evaluation:
Questions 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10
Usually: 10 points
Sometimes: 5 points
Seldom: 0 points
Questions 3, 7, 9
Usually: 0 points
Sometimes: 5 points
Seldom: 10 points
 

The Analysis:
Below 70: I am “hearing things.”
70 to 85: I listen more wholistically, but I must improve.
90 or above: My listening is the productive counterpart of my speaking.

Adapted from Ted Pollock. “Listener’s Quiz,” Supervision, August 1971, p. 22.


© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists