When it feels like no-one’s listening

Clients have said to me I should be called “The Listening Coach” rather than “The Hearing Coach”, because my listening skills are one of the things they really appreciate about spending time with me.

When I hear that, I can’t begin to tell you how pleased that makes me feel! I consider listening to be the key part of my role as a tinnitus coach. Yes, all the personal and research knowledge I have is important, as is my toolkit of tried and tested tactics and strategies for managing tinnitus. But that expertise is worth little if I don’t spend time listening to my clients tell me about their experience of living with tinnitus.

“It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen” Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr

What does listening mean when you to talk to me, whether as part of my mindfulness program, or tinnitus coaching? It means I want to hear about things like:

• How your tinnitus appeared
• What medical professionals you’ve seen
• What tinnitus is like for you
• What’s life like at home and at work
• What motivates you
• What consoles you
• What you want from our time together
• What you don’t want from our time together

I listen to everything you tell me with my head and my heart. The only time I open my mouth is to acknowledge what you are saying, to answer a question of yours, to clarify something you have said, or to ask another question about you.

And I take notes, to make sure you don’t have to repeat the information every time we meet.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say,” Bryant H. McGill

This might be the first time in your tinnitus journey that you feel someone has truly listened to you. Not listened to you in order to rule out any areas for concern, nor to tick boxes, but listened to the entirety of your tinnitus experience.

Why listening matters

“Listening is a hug you give with your mind.” Barbara Nixon

I’m listening because talking to me might be the only time you feel anyone really listens to you. Sure, our partner, friends, colleagues, children and parents listen to us in a manner, but rarely with focus and intention. That’s not blaming them at all – we live in a busy world where it’s all-too-easy to get distracted. The result is, we feel as if our needs are not being met, and that our struggles with tinnitus are being dismissed. That may not be the intention of those we are talking to, but it’s the impression we are left with.

I’m listening to hear what you are saying but also, very importantly, what you are not telling me.

I’m listening to understand your physical experience as well as your emotional experience.

I’m listening to create a safe space where you know you can trust me to have your best interests at heart.

I’m listening to affirm the worth of you as a human being, as well as to validate your tinnitus experience.

I’m listening to create a connection between us and to demonstrate compassion for an experience I also struggled with for years.

I’m listening because in this conversation your voice matters more than mine.

If you would like to work with someone who spends time listening deeply to you, before working with you to find potential solutions to your tinnitus challenges, please get in touch. I’d love to listen to you.