Good relationships depend on good listening skills. ‘Psychology Today’ tells us that good listening is nearly always absent from conflicts. The adage says that “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we listen more than we speak.”

But it seems human beings are not as good as dogs at using their ears. Dogs have more than 18 muscles in their ears which enable them to move their ears around to locate sound more precisely. Depending on the breed and their age, dogs frequency of hearing ranges from 40 Hz to 60 Hz. By contrast, human hearing ranges from 12Hz to 20Hz. Dogs can also hear four times farther than humans. So, they have more motivation and better ability to ‘prick up their ears’.

We may hear but we may not be listening. Listening is an important part of caring, it is more than hearing. Listening accurately receives and interprets messages of communication and is aware of both verbal and non verbal messages. Without listening messages are misunderstood, communications break down and relationships are affected. The well known incorrect message is reported to have been sent by a series of runners and radio operators during the First World War. The message started as “We are going to advance. Send reinforcements”, and ended as “We are going to a dance. Send three and fourpence.”

Our own lack of listening skills will hopefully not have such serious consequences. When a person is truly listened to, they feel genuinely cared for. Their dignity is restored and their own self respect built up. Of course the opposite is true, when we are not listened to we feel undervalued and unimportant, which can lead to health deterioration and relationship break down.

Active listening is such an important part of caring, that it is encouraged as part of the skills training course for carers at “Bridges Home Care”. “Bridges” is an award winning domiciliary care service provider for the counties of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. Bonny Harrison and Wendy James, who manage Bridges Home Care, believe that listening to the client’s supporters is as important as listening to the client, ensuring their service “cares for the carers” and meets their needs too.

“Pricking up your ears” is a costly way of caring, involving genuine giving. Learn to apply the skill of listening and see the benefits in the lives of others. Contact Bonny on to learn more on .