Is there a positive link between hearing and learning ability (in FL learning)?

Or, in other words, does my loss of hearing impair my learning ability?

If the right side of the body (where my hearing loss is most acute) is ruled by our left brain and the speech center is in the left brain, could it mean that I would find learning through listening less effective these days?

I know that the left-right split is not universally accepted, but I also know that passive listening to my mp3 player is my least favourite activity in FL learning. Nothing seems to stick between the ears, especially since my world has been getting quieter. Targeted, focused listening, for me, needs to be in short sharp bursts, or come from films etc I am deeply interested in.

1 Like

My hearing is impaired. I heavily suspect we learn language primarily through listening, since that’s how children learn language naturally.

But, I kept going. although it probably is harder with an impairment, I have got to a good level with german. Now I’m starting french.

The big fear with any impairment is that it stops you doing the things you want to do. I wanted to learn a language, and I did. When my hearing is gone, I’ll learn to draw.


Hi Sanne, very sorry to hear about the hearing loss. I suspect the answer to the question is no, however. I do most of my listening through my left ear, either first thing in the morning or last thing at night - lying on the left side of the bed with one ear free to receive instructions from the boss, or at work with a similar arrangement. I’ve never thought it to be an issue, and I suspect that is also another reason why it isn’t (just not being concerned possibly does wonders as well).

1 Like

Perhaps it depends on the person. For me it would be a real tragedy impairing of seeing because I’m learning first of all by seeing and reading. Listening is important for me a bit in the first stage to acquiring the pronounciation and in the very high level by watching films. But in the last case again: seeing+listening, not only listening. Hearing without a concentrade listening is for me nothing, it generates no positive links for me by FL studying.
But the people are different.

With the original post I simply aired my frustration at old-age manifesting its ‘gifts’ without thinking about how impairment works in general.

@wobadob & @iaing Thank you! Yes, clearly, an impairment is just that: a hurdle to be overcome, not a dead end (and self-fulfilling prophecies work both ways :slight_smile:
@evgueny I agree, it seems to depend on the person.

1 Like

“I do most of my listening through my left ear”, why left, is there a reason behind it?

Lots of street fights in her troubled youth.

I found this excerpt down in the comments section from, by a “Steve” (our LingQ Steve??) But the name doesn’t matter; the comment is brilliant & inspiring:

“In fact when I was a student in Europe over 40 years ago I remember meeting a deaf Japanese student, in a cafe full of students from many different countries, and he was able to communicate in 13 languages, just writing and reading. Reading and writing are wonderful means of communicating and learning languages.
I cannot deny that sound provides an additional dimension, but if that dimension is lacking, or the ability to hear declines over the years, one should still focus on what one has, and not on what one does not have. The same would be true for people lacking sight, or whose ability to read declines.”


Perfect, simply perfect!

1 Like

Ok that makes sense I though it was something with the left right brain thing

Yes that was me and I still remember that encounter. For me, language learning has to be about the process, enjoying the process, not about the outcome. Do we enjoy gardening less because things grow less well where we live? As human beings, we need meaningful activities, tasks that are important to us, give us a sense of achievement, make us feel alive and powerful. Sanne, you are a great contributor here with an wonderful spirit of exploration and a wide range of interests. How lucky you are. I feel that I share some of these attributes, but have to admit that I don’t write as well as you do, to judge by your blog.


Just noticed your direct quote. In his case, it’s because there is a Chinese wife lying on the right side of the bed and it wouldn’t be wise for him to block his right ear. Got to make sure there is rice to eat the next day.

Actually, this thread is a great example of what else LingQ offers apart from great language learning. It contains humour, knowledge and advice. You may know that I have discovered my love for writing (thank you, Steve) through LingQ, I have met amazing people in person and online.

I bet I’ve even become a better person. :slight_smile:

1 Like