Help My Hearing

Once every 10 years or so, it’s time for a new set. This past month, it was time for set number three. Dr. Hall gave me a mighty blessing that came in a small package when she fitted and fine-tuned my new hearing aids. The remote microphone is less than one-inch wide and about two-inches long, and it enables a speaker’s words to be directed into my hearing aids. Agreeing to wear it, my pastor’s message was as clear as if he was sitting on my shoulder.

For those of you who have, or live with someone who has, impaired hearing, you can understand how easily we confuse words because we can’t make out words or sounds. Many times, someone will say something, and I’ll look at them like you yelled “Cookie” at a dog. My brain must decipher what my ears incorrectly hear. Ms. Diane and I often laugh about the words I think I hear, rather than what she said. She says my most often used word is “Huh”.

As I sat listening to our pastor’s words on Sunday morning, I recognized the value of the blessing I had received. Hearing his message clearly meant I could apply more brainpower to applying the message because I needed less to understand what he was saying. Later that day, I thought about how clearly I hear God’s voice. Even with my hearing aids in, the background noise around me can make it difficult to hear what it is I want to listen to. In that same way, if I allow worldly concerns to distract or interfere with my listening to God, I can miss part of the message.

Sometimes we can let the world distract us from hearing all that God is saying. #ListeningToGod #GodFocused Click To Tweet

If I’m honest with myself, I am often the one to blame for those distractions. During my morning “God time”, I’ll find myself distracted by a news story or incoming email. It’s important to scan news headlines to identify situations that need my prayer, but I don’t have to click links to other stories that draw my interest. I open email before my “God time” to check for emails from readers and other friends who send me prayer requests. However, I don’t have to leave the app open on my computer. When that small envelope pops up in my task bar, my trained mind hears, “You’ve got mail!”

I’m guessing that many of you struggle with these same distractions. Anti-social media can easily become a time-sucking distraction. The video of the cute little child and their puppy can lead you to six others, then a full-length video, and the next thing you know it’s an hour later. Thinking about these things, I asked God to help my hearing. I don’t want to miss out on things He wants to teach, show, and lead me in. If I’m not focused on Him when He’s speaking to my heart, I will miss something.

What are some ways we can help God help our hearing? I can’t always stop every thought that enters my mind during my “God time”; and I’m not sure that I would want to. Sometimes, these thoughts prompt me to pray for God’s understanding or intervention. Here’s a list of some things that I can control so I might better focus on and hear God in my life.

  • Turn off those electronic distractions: Computer, telephone, and even the radio can distract us when we need to be focusing on God.
  • Close the blinds: While my “God time” most often happens in the pre-dawn hours, even the lightning of a storm can distract me. When I need to stop and pray during daylight hours, I find it easier to close the door and blinds, removing visual or audible distractions.
  • Ask for God’s help: From time to time, I find my mind wandering while trying to study God’s Word, pray, etc. When I catch myself in those times, I’ll often stop and recite a poem to help me regain focus. What works best is to ask the Holy Spirit to guard my mind so I might focus on Him.
If asked, God will help us hear Him, but we have to desire His help. #HearingGod Click To Tweet

Something I’ve learned is that there is a vast difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is only the physical side of things. Listening is the processing of that which you hear. To me, this makes sense. If you hear better, then your listening should improve as well. Merriam-Webster defines hearing as the “process, function, or power of perceiving sound; specifically: the special sense by which received noises and tones act as stimuli.” Listening means “to pay attention to sound; to hear something with thoughtful attention; and to give consideration.”

Please comment below and share some ways you remove the distractions so you can hear God more clearly and listen to what He is saying. I believe that the better we hear God, the more He will speak to us. Praying that God helps your hearing this week as well.

God’s blessings,

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53 thoughts on “Help My Hearing

  1. Dear Cuz,
    Thanks again for beautiful thoughts and helps. It’s possible to practice the presence of God. PPG! So very manageable. And…Quiet time is healthy for sure.
    In His Presence,
    Cousin Dot

  2. What a great question you (indirectly) asked! Even while reading your post something sparked my curiosity, and I almost clicked away to immediately look it up. And so it goes. The internal noise is more difficult for me than outside distractions. One of my devo sources always begins: “As I enter prayer now, I pause to be still; to breathe slowly, to re-centre my scattered senses upon the presence of God.” Scattered senses. I scoop them up in my imagination and lay all those broken pieces before the Lord. Some are not without merit. I need His priorities.

    1. Thank you Ms. Dottie. It took me two days to write the blog post itself. Distractions! 🙂 Love the thoughts your devotions site suggests. That’s a great way to start, by inviting God to help keep us focused on Him.

  3. Rabbit trails and distractions!
    Boy, if I could only stayed on target, especially during my prayers time. One thing that really helps me is have a prayer prompter filled out with names of people under headings like “Family,” “Health,” Salvation,” “Church, ” and “Missionaries.” If a rabbit jumps across my trail and I start following it, I can glance back to my guide sheet and focus on my prayer list. Lord, help keep me in the moment of spending quality time with You each day.

  4. “There is a vast difference between hearing and listening.” Yes! I know how frustrated I feel when someone doesn’t listen to me. Yet, I can be a poor listener. I definitely want to be a better listener to God.

    1. I’m right there with you Ms. Debbie. I find myself often (especially in retirement) of hearing something and then having to go back to the source and ask clarification because I wasn’t listening as well as I should have. When I was working each day, I did my best to employ “active listening”, where I would repeat what I think I heard to ensure my understanding. I’ve fallen out of that habit in the past 10 years or so, and need to do more of it also. Especially during my “God time” each morning.

  5. Here we go with another shared experience, J.D. I got a new set of hearing aids a few months ago, and I was, and am, very grateful for the improvement. I especially like being able to get all my phone calls through them, and to listen to other things, music, news reports, etc. without having to bother other people or leave a room to find a secluded place. I love the fact that when I go to the gym (since I don’t have ranch chores to keep me in shape) I can listen to praise music throughout the workout, which adds a spiritual element to my efforts to keep all the parts moving.

    I’m also intrigued that the ancient Hebrews had no word that directly translates into our word, “obey.” Their word for that concept was, “hear.” To God’s people “hear” was a verb. It didn’t mean to simply receive the auditory input. It meant to respond to what was said. That realization was both deeply convicting and transformational for me. I haven’t “heard” God’s words simply because I was exposed to them, and I’m not truly “listening” to Him unless my behavioral apparatus and my heart attitude is in gear and ready to respond to what He says.

    Once again, it was great to “hear” from you. The stimulating, insightful, and inspirational message and the practical admonitions that are so characteristic of you was another dose of encouragement that Diane and I praise God for. And by the way, sometime I’ll tell you the story of how I was finally brought to the point gave in and got my ears examined. God had to use a couple of, shall we say, “interesting” miscommunications to get me to the point where I “heard” Him. 🙂

    1. Well said sir. I love how you always add more depth and understanding to our conversation my friend. I’m sure glad to know we are both able to hear and listen better these days. And as for piping music, phone calls, etc. directly into our ears; oh yeah! 😀 Thank you my friend.

  6. Amen. Bop(Alan) wears hearing aids and we are truly thankful for that technology which allows him to hear. He no longer has “selective hearing”. haha! He hears everything. Yes, we must be alert for any distractions that take our attention away from God. Have a blessed week dear friend! Tell Ms. Diane hello from me. 🙂

    1. LOL… Sometimes “hearing everything” isn’t as good as it sounds is it Ms. Mimi? Your point of being alert for those distractions is such an important one ma’am. The sooner we can identify them, the faster we can arrest them to keep them from derailing our journey. God’s blessings ma’am.

  7. I use my alone time in the house and turn off all distractions. I also sit with my eyes closed and just listen without saying a word. Great message JD.

    1. Oh, I love that Ms. Yvonne! Just sitting and listening for God is an amazing experience. I think my favorite place to do that is under the pine trees in our barnyard. It’s there that I can often “hear” the breeze, and when I do, I sense God’s presence arriving upon it.

    1. Thank you Ms. Ann. My Ms. Diane has grown accustomed to my not clearly hearing her (I don’t wear my hearing aids during my everyday around the house), and she accommodates it fairly well. I should be more respectful though and wear them more often. I especially like that my new ones are “noise-cancelling” in that they automatically adjust to lower the impact of loud noises like diesel engines, etc.

  8. It is so very easy to get distracted, J. D., especially in these crazy times in which we live. We should seek a quiet place to go in our homes, or even outdoors, and simply listen to what God is telling our hearts.
    I’m so glad to know, too, that your new hearing aids are working so well! My mother had hearing aids, but they didn’t always help; wish we could have found better ones for her while she was with us.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Thank you Ms. Martha. Yes, hearing aid technology has greatly improved; even in the years since I got my first ones. And I’m with you on the importance of removing distractions from our lives when we need to focus on something, especially when we’re seeking God’s understanding. God’s blessings ma’am.

  9. My mother-in-law was hard of hearing from the first time I met her. By the time we moved her across the country to be near us, we had to shout to be heard, even though she was sitting right across from us. She just kept smiling and saying, “You’ll just have to speak up.” When my husband wanted to take her to an audiologist, she protested. I don’t know how old her hearing aids were, but she was from the Depression era and didn’t want to buy new if she could make do with the old. We gently insisted. Once she got the new ones, she was very happy to have them. But she did say it was hard to be in a crowd because it was hard to filter through all the noises to hear what she wanted to hear. She would go to church, but not much of anywhere else.

    My biggest distraction during my quiet time is my own thoughts. I’ll find myself staring off into space several minutes after opening my Bible or prayer app, not realizing how long I have been distracted going down rabbit trails of other thoughts. Sometimes it helps to picture swiping those “screens” closed in my mind. With prayer, it helps to pray out loud (though in a whisper–I don’t want to disturb or be heard by anyone else). In a book about reading, the author said one way to avoid drowsiness while reading is to run your index finger underneath the words as you read. It gets wearying to do that much, but sometimes it helps me get back on point if I have gotten distracted.

    1. I am right there with you Ms. Barbara. I’m often my own worse distraction too. Limiting my “inputs” helps substantially, which is why I don’t wear my hearing aids during my “God time” each morning. By not wearing them, I cut out much of what can distract me because I simply can’t hear those external things that seek to distract me. I sure understand how the background noise can overwhelm us hearing aid wearers, especially in a noisy environment like a restaurant. That’s another use for the external microphone I spoke about. I can hand it to my wife or someone else around the table and I’ll hear them instead of the couple six tables behind me discussing if they want the roast beef or not. LOL

  10. You are so right, J.D. There is a difference between hearing and listening. We do need to shut out those distractions when we want to hear God because so much around us drags our attention away. My mother suffered from hearing loss and I know the frustration of trying to decipher what a person is saying. I learned to speak slowly to her and where she could see me while I talked. I’m glad your new hearing aids improved life for you! Blessings friend.

    1. How very true Ms. Barbara. I think when we go into our “God time”, Satan receives a prompt somehow and his attempts intensify. Yes, seeing someone speaking does indeed help. Thank you for all your kind words and support my friend. God’s blessings.

  11. J.D., I recently began to slowly re-read the very familiar book “The Practice of the Presence of God” by Bro. Lawrence. Your post was both timely and fitting right in with his words. In order to listen better during my morning time, I changed where I sit. I didn’t expect it to make a difference, but it surely has. Less scrolling, and less distractions, means better focus. May God bless your hearing – both physically and spiritually 🙂

    1. That’s a great book Ms. Joanne, with some very useful guidance ma’am. How true ma’am. Am learning that if I turn off everything on my computer except my Daily Prayer List I get less distracted. Have also learned to keep Post It notes handy so I can write down verses or thoughts that I might want explore more deeply later. Google, with all its suggested sites, etc. can be deeply distracting if we try and search something “in the moment.” Thank you so much for sharing ma’am. Perhaps I need to re-read Brother Lawrence’s book too.

  12. Helpful, easily applicable suggestions for improving God time by minimizing distractions. I need to make use of my closet more. It’s big enough that I don’t get claustrophobia, has a place to sit, and can be darkened.

    I’m going to send this to my brother who needs hearing aids, but some kind of weird pride keeps him from seeking help. Might help him see the problem in a new light.

    1. Been wearing them since the 90s, so I’m pretty used to them. The technology has improved so much they I find them more comfortable and better able to adapt to my surroundings. I’d be happy to talk more about them via email if he’d be more comfortable. We could at least share a few funny stories of things that happen when I’m not wearing them. LOL Glad you have that prayer closet. Sounds like “War Room” there my friend. 🙂 God’s blessings, and thank you so much for sharing ma’am.

  13. I made a rule that I won’t turn the radio on in the car if I’m alone before 5 pm. It’s hard if I know there’s big news. But I’ve been keeping the rule for years, and I’ve come to appreciate the relative quiet.

    Happy Thanksgiving, JD. God bless!

    1. That’s a great rule Ms. Nancy. One of my favorite places to worship and praise is when I’m driving. I’ll plug my iPhone in and play worship music. Pretty soon, there’s hands raised and tears streaming. LOL I used to worry I was driving distracted, but that’s when I learned that “Spiritual Awareness” is more effective at keeping me safe than “Situational Awareness”. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been “moved” to take evasive action because someone swerved into my lane, passing when they shouldn’t, or runs a stop sign or traffic signal. Great thoughts ma’am; thank you!

  14. I love how you distinguish between hearing and listening. And the enemy surely knows how transformative spending God time is for us, so he uses the worlds distractions. Great post.

  15. The cell phone. Unless I receive a text that concerns me and requires immediate response, that gadget goes in time out first thing in the morning. It’s a HUGE distraction! Wise words about hearing vs listening, my friend.

    1. Yes ma’am. Thank phone can be such a distraction. I often remind myself of that when I look around at a restaurant and probably 90 percent of all people have their face buried in their phone.

  16. I’ll join with other comments and thank you for sharing the distinction between listening and hearing. I’ll add we also listen with our eyes and body as we “give attention to a person-we are present not just physically there. I love again, how you share spiritual applications to your personal experiences.

    1. Thank you Ms. Marilyn. The visual cues we get can go a long way in helping us understand intent, and also give us prompts to pay attention to an important point. Great thoughts ma’am. Thank you so much for adding to our conversation. Much appreciated.

  17. Instead of your “Huh?”. Farmer Bob had the habit of saying, “What’s that?” even before I finished my sentence. I’ll admit his habit irritated me at times. Often, if I waited in silence, his brain would catch up to his mouth and he’d respond, even when I hadn’t answered his, “What’s that?” His listening was a few beats behind his hearing. Loved your message, my friend. I’ve worked for years to become a better listener, and with God’s help, I’m getting there. But you’re right, we have to work to ignore the distractions. Walking helps me listen better and nature, although I love and thrive on her beauty, doesn’t distract me from my “God time.” You’re right to advise us to be wary of computer, phone, and other noise distraction. Technology can insnare us. Thank you for another wise message, J.D. Wishing you blessings and good listening!

    1. “What’s that?” 😀 Yes, there are times when our brains have to catch up to the auditory inputs. It’s not that we don’t hear, but often we can’t make sense of what we think you said. Just ask Ms. Diane what she said “Crows Do” when we were still dating. I too continue to work on becoming a better listener, especially to God my friend. I don’t listen to my Ms. Diane as well as I used to, but then again I think we all grow “too comfortable” with our mates at times. And, again, yes, those distractions are some of Satan’s most effective tools I think. Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving with your family sweet friend. God’s blessings.

  18. You hit the nail on the head, I think, when you said the better we hear God, the more He will speak to us. I find that to be true as well. To minimize distractions, I enjoy night God times when the house is quiet and the room is dark. Visually, distractions are more limiting that way. (I like your idea of the closed blinds, though.) Dogs are not barking outside and vehicular noises in the street are fewer. (Guess there are some advantages in the country than in a neighborhood subdivision!)

    1. Yeah, my visual and aural distractions are cattle walking by my window, the donkeys braying at the fence, and coyotes howling. Very different I should think from the suburbs of Birmingham my friend. 🙂

  19. I’m on my fourth set. And I can only wait 4-5 years between. Right now I have one of the top set, but still in women’s fellowship prayer meetings, I can only hear a few ladies who talk louder ormaybe are sitting right next to me. I fear worsening hearing. I get discouraged asking friends to speak up. They do, of course, but after a few sentences are back in a range I can’t decipher. I ask some to write out their requests, but it often is missing the emotion. I try to pray a generic, hoping/knowing that God knows the needs. Still I wish I could hear. At least I have fewer audio distractions during my devotional time. 🙂

    1. Praying for your hearing ma’am. As someone who is suffering through both hearing and vision loss, something I’ve thought about often is, “Which of those two senses would I grieve the most?” I’ve had this conversation with myself for many years now, long before I started losing my vision (Thanks Ozempic!), and it’s always been the same answer. As much as I love to hear children laugh and my wife tell me she loves me, I would much rather lose my hearing than my vision. In my mind, if I can see the emotion, passion, and compassion in others, I can “fill in the blanks” for what I can’t hear. With my hearing loss, I’ve trained my brain to automatically adjust what I hear with what makes sense. When I can’t figure it out, like this morning while I was having breakfast and my Ms. Diane was standing behind me and I thought she said something non-sensical. She laughed when I repeated what I thought she said, then told me to go put my hearing aids in. Does Mr. Lynn do the same to you? God’s blessings and Happy Thanksgiving ma’am.

  20. This is a wonderfully instructive post, J.D.
    I sincerely believe that I’m ADHD, (at which some which friends and family members agree).
    We know that, among other things, I’m easily distracted.
    It takes effort for me to stay focused and I regularly ask God to help.
    As you know, my first early morning “Power Hour” assignment is to post a prayer for children on my social media. It’s hard for me to then shut all that down and move on into prayer and Bible study.
    We have oh so many distractions at our fingertips and in our ears. For me, even soft background music is a distraction when I want and need to keep my mind stayed on Christ.
    Thanks for your wise and timely messages.
    It’s great that your hearing device is helpful. Praise God!

    1. I’m with you my friend. One of my co-workers, a dear lady friend used to remind me that I was “getting off course” by smiling at me and stating, “Squirrel” or “Pretty, Shiny” with a smile. I kept trying to tell her it was the redneck in me, but truth was, I was just trying to juggle too many things in my life sometimes. So glad you enjoyed the post my friend. God’s blessings.

  21. You hit me right where I live, J.D. I battle those electronic distractions too. I think I need to take the home page on my laptop off the news because I can so easily get dragged into “just a quick check” of the headlines. I suspect the world will not cease to spin if I don’t know something that’s going on. Also, you make a good distinction between hearing and listening. I will ponder this statement: “I believe that the better we hear God, the more He will speak to us.” Intriguing! Happy Thanksgiving, J.D.!

    1. Oh, yes ma’am. A newsfeed can both disrupt and ruin my entire day. I often scan the headlines to see situations and people I need to pray about/for, but if I click to read the story, I’m hosed. And yes (again), something I’ve discovered in my own walk is that the better I get at hearing and “Listening” to Him, the more I think He can instruct and guide me. It’s as though, God knows to give more responsibility to those who better carryout His plan for them. The more we align with Him, the more He can do with and through us it seems. God’s blessings and Happy Thanksgiving Ms. Annie.

  22. I always loved telling the story of my daughter Meg when she was a young piano student. Her teacher would say, “You hear, but you don’t listen!” That convicts me, too, because listening also means to take action. May we all hear the Word, listen to God’s voice, and be faithfully obedient. Thanks for another great life lesson, brother JD! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. We’ve all been guilty of hearing and not listening my friend. I try and do that less, but it still happens. Often times, I’ll have to go back to someone and admit to them that I didn’t fully understand them and ask for clarification. In most cases, they are gracious in helping me, but there’s been times when it’s been a source of their annoyance with me. I get that.

  23. I’m not the best at distancing myself from distractions. But because I usually have my quiet time with the Lord in the morning, my phone is often on the charger in another room. If I have my phone with me, I try to remember to turn it face down. That way, when something pops in, I’m reminded not to turn it over and look at it. Works for me–sometimes! 🙂

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