Listening Awareness Month – March 2023

Listening Awareness Month takes place in March each year. According to the International Listening Association, listening is “the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken or nonverbal messages’.’ Listening is an important communication tool that many people overlook. This should not be the case, because developing good listening skills is not difficult. Good listeners make good communicators and they have a much faster grasp of issues than others. Hearing what others are saying improves the quality of your relationships and makes you more effective at work. Hence, listening is an essential skill.

History of Listening Awareness Month

Why do we listen? We listen to understand, get information, learn new things, and we listen for entertainment. With all of the listening we do in our lives, you’d think we’d be experts. However, studies show that most people only remember about 25% to 50% of what they hear. This means that when you speak with someone, they will only remember about half of what you say. Perhaps even less. This also applies to you. Much of what people say to you will pass through one ear and out the other.

You can only hope that your brain remembers the most important details. The significance of listening awareness is now clear. The International Listening Association (ILA) established Listening Awareness Month in the late 1990s to highlight the importance of listening in our lives. Since its inception in the late 1970s, the ILA has worked to raise awareness of the importance of studying, developing, and teaching effective listening strategies in all settings.

Members of this professional organization represent 16 countries and 38 states, and they are all committed to providing the best listening practices for people all over the world. Every year, more people learn about listening as a result of their efforts during Listening Awareness Month. This includes listening styles, strategies for improving focus and comprehension, and listening depth. In a world where people frequently listen passively while focusing on a screen, awareness of this subject is more important than ever.

Listening Awareness Month timeline

1979
The International Listening Association

The International Listening Association is formed, developing a network of members concerned with the art and science of listening across various fields.

1985
Anderson’s Three Stages of Listening Comprehension

J.R. Anderson suggests that perceptual processing, parsing, and utilization are the three interconnected, recursive processes that explain listening comprehension.

1986
Nagle and Sanders’ Listening Comprehension Model

S.J. Nagle and S.L. Sanders develop the earliest listening comprehension model for adult learners.

1990
The Need for Teaching Listening Skills

Listening has evolved into the parallel processing of input and scholars stress the importance of teaching language listening skills and strategies.

Listening Awareness Month FAQs

How can you listen to someone?

Don’t interrupt, acknowledge what they’ve said, and keep an eye out for nonverbal cues as they speak.

What factors affect good listening?

Grammar, pronunciation, and overall listening time are common factors that affect listening.

How do you overcome listening barriers?

Focus on listening rather than speaking, minimize external distractions and noise, and reflect on what was said instead of deflecting it.

Listening Awareness Month Activities

  1. Study the benefits of listening

    Being a good listener is an underrated but crucial skill. Listening comprehension has many social and cognitive benefits, which you should take the time to learn about during this special holiday.

  2. Practice listening to others

    Listen to every word others have to say and reflect on their meaning before responding. It’s a simple but effective way to celebrate Listening Awareness Month.

  3. Talk to people

    Don’t want to do all the listening? That’s fine. You can talk and have others listen to you. Just make sure it's engaging and the subject is interesting.

5 Interesting Facts About Listening Awareness

  1. You can learn just by listening

    The majority of what we learn throughout our lives comes from listening.

  2. We hear thousands of words every day

    The average person hears around 20,000 to 30,000 words daily.

  3. Humans spend most of their time communicating

    On average, people spend about 70% to 80% of their time communicating through speech, and this figure may be higher for others.

  4. We think faster than we listen

    The average human listens at a rate of about 125 to 250 words per minute but thinks at a rate of about 1,000 to 3,000 words per minute.

  5. Millions of American children have hearing loss

    Three million children in the U.S. suffer from hearing loss.

Why We Love Listening Awareness Month

  1. We gain new insights

    We learn from others when we listen to them. And we can all learn something from someone, whether they are elderly people with decades of life experience or inquisitive children with many questions about the world.

  2. Less noise, more substance

    In a world full of influencers and talking heads spewing an endless stream of information, it's important to recognize the importance of listening. And not just listening, but paying attention to subjects that are important to you. During Listening Awareness Month, we filter out the meaningless noise and focus on substance.

  3. It makes speaking more enjoyable

    You gain a better understanding of people when you are a good listener. You will be a more pleasant person to converse with as a result of this. Listening also improves communication.

Listening Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2022March 1Tuesday
2023March 1Wednesday
2024March 1Friday
2025March 1Saturday
2026March 1Sunday
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