Difficulty Listening With Comprehension?

Cheri Moore

Written by Cheri Moore

March 10, 2024

Difficulty Listening With Comprehension?

When there are competing background sounds, can you listen with comprehension and remember in all environments?

The therapist, Liz, greets a new client in an office beautifully decorated with a vase of flowers, books on bookcase, a rug, and two chairs. A clock is on the wall behind the chair where clients typically sit during their session allowing Liz to easily keep track of time.

Liz, the therapist, hears a knock on the door. So, she stands up and walks towards the door to greet the new client, Sam. Liz greets her new client, Sam. She offers him a seat. Footsteps are heard. Sam sits in the chair below the clock. He hears loud ticking coming from the clock on the wall. Liz notices that Sam looks at the clock on the wall and seems to be acting antsy. When she follows his gaze, she hears nothing as she looks at the clock on the wall. Now, Sam looks very tense and unhappy.

As Liz begins to speak to her new client about confidentiality, she notices that he is physically sweating, looking around, and has a grim expression on his face. She thinks, “Does he not want to be here. When I greeted him, he seemed so happy to be here.”

The sound of Liz’s voice is purposely muffled and a bit distorted to demonstrate what happens when the brain is unable to focus on listening without repetitive competing background sounds.

Liz looks at Sam and says, “Okay Sam, everything shared in the room remains confidential. Only if you share a plan to harm yourself or others, will I have to share so you can receive help. Would you like to begin by sharing your story with me?”

Liz notices that Sam looks increasingly anxious, uncomfortable, and distracted grimacing, shutting his eyes, and touching his head. After about 30 seconds, Sam loudly says, “I am sorry! The clock is so loud I can’t hear myself think!”

Repetitive background competing sounds cause emotional distress and difficulties listening with comprehension and expressive speech. Schedule a free phone session to learn how I help individuals and professionals support their clients.

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