Auditory Reflexes

Auditory reflexes concern your ability to react quickly to what you hear. This skill is useful in situations where you have to defend yourself in the dark. In this situation, it is more likely that you will hear the attack before you see it.

Auditory reflexes will also help you when defending against multiple attackers. Having highly developed auditory reflexes is the closest thing to having eyes in the back of your head.

Fully developing all of your senses is a key goal of combat speed training. When your senses are functioning at their peak, you will find yourself reacting first and then thinking—as opposed to thinking first and then reacting.

Experiments indicate that auditory cues, when occurring close to the athlete, are responded to more quickly than visual cues. People without sight, through daily living, are forced to develop their listening skills to advanced levels. For those of us with the gift of sight, we must artificially create the circumstances that will force us to cultivate our critical listening skills for competition and self-defense purposes.

Auditory Reflex Drills

Basic Sound Trigger

You will need a partner for this drill. Start by assuming a ready position. Close your eyes. Have your partner quickly shout out any single syllable word. When you detect a shout is about to happen, react as fast as you can, with a punch or a kick. After assuming a ready position again, you should say “ready,” to let your partner know that you are ready for the next shout. Have your partner pause as long as desired before quickly shouting the word again.

This drill will develop the basic neurological responses for auditory reflex development. Eventually, you will be reacting before your partner can finish saying the word. 

Intermediate Sound Trigger

This drill is like the basic drill, except you and your partner should choose one word that you will react to. Now, what your partner must do is quickly shout out the chosen word—but only periodically. Other words should be shouted out, before and after the chosen word, in an attempt to make you respond.

You should react only to the chosen word. Again, make certain that your partner waits until you say, “ready” before word shouting begins. This drill will develop your ability to control your auditory reflexes.

Advanced Sound Trigger

The only difference between this drill and the intermediate drill is that your partner should lower the volume. This will force you to concentrate even harder in order to hear the chosen word. Have your training partner lower the volume as you improve.

One way to make these drills more challenging is to abandon the ready stance and inject some reality. Sit down and read a paper or book. Act as if you are out at the movies or a restaurant. Have your partner shout quickly. React by initiating your defenses or attack as fast as you can from various positions.

Imagine that you are being attacked as you enter your car or as you are walking down the street talking to a friend. You must make full use of your best teacher, your imagination. Also, you must continue to systematically increase the difficulty of all drills in order to push your speed to the maximum.

The whole idea is to learn to instantly explode into action from any position in response to an auditory cue that demands immediate reaction.

Solo Sound Trigger

You can also practice this drill on your own if you have access to a voice recorder. Simply record yourself shouting a single syllable word over and over. Make certain you pause long enough between shouts to give yourself time to get ready again. Also, it is very important to vary the rhythm between shouts so that you can’t anticipate them. 

You can practice this drill with your eyes closed to help you stay focused on the sound. You can also keep your eyes open and use your imagination for situational training. It’s up to you. Be creative in your approach to training and self-improvement. Let results be the deciding factor as to whether something is working.

Learning to Listen

You can improve your auditory reflexes by simply learning to listen more closely to what goes on around you in your daily life. Listen to a conversation between people across the room. Close your eyes and try to distinguish what is being said.

Take a walk outside and take note of sounds you can hear. Listen for cars humming, birds singing, wind blowing, kids playing, dogs barking, etc. Listen to the radio at low volume levels. Try to detect what is being said or sung. You are training your ears to become more acute. At this time, medical science can’t improve your actual hearing capacity—but you can improve your ability to be more aware of what you can already hear.

The following are steps you can take to prevent hearing loss:

1. Avoid or minimize exposure to unusually loud and harmful noise.

2. When possible, use appropriate hearing protection when exposed to high noise levels.

3. Never stick objects in your ear.

4. Always blow your nose gently.

5. Have your hearing checked by your doctor if you suspect any hearing loss.