When we think of communication skills we think of reading, writing, following directions, and speaking about our ideas to inform or persuade others. We think of school, sitting in classes, and practice, practice, practice.
When we hear “Brain training”we think of Suduko, cross-word puzzles, Neuro-Feedback, and computer programs like Lumosity and BrainBuilder or interactive ones like EFSAP. Brain exercises are repetitive, mostly boring, and necessary to expand function. It’s like working out in a gym while being totally aware of exactly what our muscles are doing. Brain training requires our utmost attention – we cannot plug in our earphones an run on a treadmill while watching our favorite shows – in brain exercise terms we just wasted an hour. It just doesn’t work that way.
So how can these two very different types of skills be improved easily? By Listening.
It is as easy as putting on headphones and pressing play. But wait – didn’t we just say that inattention = no brain results? Yes, however listening is not inattention.
Sound has a huge impact on our neurological systems and our ears have no ‘ear-lids.’ Ears are always absorbing sound and when we specifically choose what sounds are in our environment & pay attention to those sounds we can create massive change.
Sound is a Nutrient for the Brain.
If you are not Sound Aware – Your Brain is Eating Junk Food 24/7.
Brain training and communication skills are alike in a very simple way. Traditionally both require our ability to pay attention, concentrate, and focus on an immediate task. Both require us to be aware, awake, and engaged in the process. Relearning how to focus can take an immense amount of mental energy fatiguing even the most motivated person.
So why would sound, why would listening, work to both improve communication skills and enhance our brain training?
Come, Dive with me Down the Rabbit Hole of Neuroscience!
Our brains respond to frequencies either positively or negatively, there is no neutral sound. We can have neutral soundscapes if there are both positive & negative frequencies and rhythms in the environment. The negative stimulation is countered by a positive stimulation and the net effect becomes zero. This is why we cover draining sounds like furnace sounds or fan sounds with music.
The field of psycho-acoustics uses what we have found in neuroscience and applies it to the creation of music to feed neuroplasticity in our brains. (Want to study psycho-acoustics? Good stuff here and a great book here.)
Our brain is a highly tuned organ and it’s ability to craft behaviors & skills is influenced by the types of frequencies we hear.
So let’s go back to communication skills. The first skill in communication is actually listening. Of course, when we talk about communication skills most people are referring to our ability to speak or write. But we don’t know what our audience is thinking unless we are listening first.
So what does it take to listen and comprehend? (brief list)
- An ability to pay attention to another person. (paying attention to incoming data is a brain skill)
- An ability to understand the language we are listening to. (low-level processing takes place before we reach conscious awareness)
- An ability to sense timing for turn taking in a conversation. (internal timing & ability to match energy)
- An ability to sense what is NOT being stated, but meant, “reading between the lines.” (synthesis)
And the coolest part of all this? There is a set of frequencies called, “the speech and language zone” or “the executive function zone” where memory, attention, concentration, language acquisition, vocabulary expansion, and mathematics are all affected. In fact, most people, “brain training” are wanting to keep their memories, their level of vocabulary, and their ability to communicate!
You can start with music in the environment. Use special formulated music for your mind like the Sound Health Series, Healing at the Speed of Sound or Don Campbell’s work, The Wisdom and Power of Music.
If you do not notice an effect, then raise the power and start a sound therapy program. There are various companies providing sound therapy programs, We use Advanced Brain Technologies products because they are the only company that creates all their music from scratch with specific intention and the technical ability to place each and every sound in spatial space. It is amazing to hear violins or drums moving around you as if you are the center of the music!
Power up – starting a sound therapy
- Find a provider, (yes, I am one).
- Contact them
- Have a conversation about your needs and goals, (we then craft your program for you).
- Depending on your program
- Listen for 20 weeks. (We will tweak the program for you via email/phone.)
- Listen online for 40 weeks (program changes by how you listen).
- Review your goals, check off accomplished goals, start new goals!