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Nature of Listening
A. Listening is a dynamic, transactional process.
a. Communication is a two-way process.
b. It is the joint responsibility of both the speaker and the listener to make sure
that the messages originating from the source are understood, interpreted, and
evaluated by the receiver.
B. Listening is an active process not a passive one.
a. DeVito (1982) stresses out that listening does not just happen; you have to
make it happen.
b. It requires mental energy so the listener can participate actively as decoder and
encoder of information.
C. Listening is a complex process.
a. The stages of listening as presented in the Brooks Listening Model shows its
1. The first stage of listening is hearing.
i. Hearing is the process of reception of sound waves by the ear.
ii. Factors affecting the hearing of sound
1) Auditory Acuity it is the ability of the ear to respond to
various frequencies or tones at various intensities,
referred to as levels of loudness.
a) Human speech frequencies range from 250 to
4,000 cycles per second although the critical
range of auditory acuity is 1000 and 2500 cycles
per second.
b) Decibels are units to measure the loudness of
sound. Speech sound ranges from 55-85
c) The intelligibility of speech is affected by
hearing loss. If one needs 15 to 20 decibels over
the normal, he may have a significant hearing
2) Masking occurs when the background noise received
by the ear falls within the same frequency range as the
message one is intending to receive.
a) Example: Competing conversation often masks
the intended oral message.
b) White noise results when the competing or
extraneous sounds are composed of all
frequencies like the noise from a jam-packed
enlistment room.
3) Auditory fatigue results from continuous exposure of
sounds of certain frequencies.
a) Examples are the monotonous or droning voice
of a lecturer, the sound of a running appliance,
or the continuous ringing of an alarm clock.
These scenarios can weaken the process of
hearing and consequently impede listening.
b) Prolonged exposure to sounds of certain
frequencies can bring about temporary hearing
loss. Exposure to high decibel level-rock and roll
music, newspaper presses and power mowers
can have damaging effects. Members of
rockbands wear earplugs to prevent hearing
loss when paying heavy metal music.
2. The second stages of listening is identifying and recognizing patterns
and relationships.
i. Factors affecting this stage of listening
a) Auditory analysis process of comparing the sounds
that are heard with the ones that are familiar to the
listener. Sounds are recognized according to their
likeness and differences.
b) Mental reorganization during this, the listener uses a
system that will help him retain and structure incoming
sounds. He may recode, regroup, or rehearse these
sounds in his mind. He may syllabify the word while
pronouncing it. He may group numbers in batches or he
may repeat the series several times.
c) Association the listener links the sounds he hear with
previous experiences, memories, and backgrounds. He
creates associations even if the sounds are spoken in
foreign language.
3. The third stage of listening is auding.
a) The listener assimilates the words and responds to them with
understanding and feeling.
b) The five thinking skills that are important to make the
assignment of meaning an easy task.
Indexing arranging the listening material according to
importance. The listener searches for main ideas and
subordinate ones. He also distinguishes the relevant
material from the irrelevant.
Making comparisons
Noting sequence arranging of material according to
time, space, position or some other relationship.
Forming sensory impressions - translating the material
to sensory images. When we listen, we often react with
our different senses.
Appreciating responding to the aesthetic nature of the
message. This may take place when the listening
material demands an emotional response.