Close Your Eyes For Better Listening

Not understanding what you are hearing getting you down? Frustrated at the feeling of input that just feels incomprehensible at times? Well there’s an easy trick that gives you a tiny boost:

Close your eyes.

Close Your Eyes For Better Listening

This is obvious, but sometimes you have to remind yourself of the obvious. You probably have done this unconsciously in the past when you are trying to focus very closely on what you are listening to. Or you may have just been closing your eyes because you were listening to something while laying down or tired.

When I used to have telephone interviews in Japanese, I often had my eyes closed when I was listening to the interviewer say something. When I was listening to something too difficult anywhere my eyes would also tend to close. And I always frequently enjoyed passive listening before bed with my eyes closed. In all of these situations, I felt like my understanding was better.

When you close your eyes, does your Japanese ability actually get better?

Close Your Eyes For Better Listening 2

Yes. There is good scientific reason behind it, and one that should encourage you to sometimes make an effort to close your eyes when you are trying to comprehend something difficult.

Closing your eyes helps you remember better.

Language learning is all about remembering. What you’ve learned, what you’ve seen, what you’ve heard. Closing your eyes is like a temporary power up, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t make use of it.

What’s your experience?

Has closing your eyes improved your listening?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Close Your Eyes For Better Listening — 9 Comments

  1. I often do this without thinking when trying to recall information but have also started doing it recently while listening to podcasts on the train to work.

    Has worked wonders for my concentration.

    I always thought, in the case of listening, that it helped because you’re cutting out a lot of visual stimuli and information, freeing up some processing power for your brain. If my eye lands on an interesting poster my brain is probably more engaged in reading kanji than processing the audio.

  2. Thanks for the advice! I have a pile of manga waiting for me. Can wait to get home and try reading with my eyes closed.

  3. This is a great idea that I will try to implement when listening to any podcast/audio-based Japanese media. Do you have any recommendations for Japanese podcasts? (besides Japanesepodcast101.. which is a great resource. I’m thinking more along the lines of itunes)

    • These are great starter listening practice! They are a reasonable length and clear speech with no background noise. The listening practice I have tried doing with anime audio has had difficult background noise or music almost all of the time. I have never had very good listening skills, it took me a long time to get my English listening skills up as well, so easy resources are very welcomed here. Thanks!

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