English Listening Exercises for B1 – The body’s limits

Listening Strategy

Some listening tasks may involve listening out for numbers, dates and measurements. Make sure you know how to pronounce these so that you can identify the information when you hear it.

1. Read the Listening Strategy. Then listen and circle the number or measurement you hear.

1   a  115,000  b 100,050  c 150,000

2   a  3,700,000  b 37,000,000  c 3,000,700

3   a  2.07  b 0.27  c 2.70

4   a  3 1/10  b 1/10  c 3/10

5   a  35%  b 30.5%  c 13%

6   a  22-25  b 2-25  c 20-25

7   a  25°C  b -5°C  c -25°C

8   a  1930  b 1913  c 913

Show answers

1 c   2 a   3 a   4 c   5 b   6 c   7 c   8 a

Transcript

1 150,000

3.7 million

2.07

4 three tenths

5 30.5%

20–25

–25°C

8 1930

2. Read aloud all the numbers and measurements in exercise 1.

3. Listen and complete the facts with the numbers and measurements you hear.

Your body makes ________. new blood cells every second.

There are nearly ________. kilometres of blood vessels in an average adult body.

Only ________. of the cells in our body the human; the other ________. are bacteria.

Your brain is only ________. of your body’s weight, but it uses ________. of the oxygen.

Your temperatures is usually about ________. lower in the morning than in the evening.

Blondes have about ________. more hairs on their head than people with black hair.

Adult humans have ________. bones, but newborn babies have a lot more.

The smallest muscle in the body is inside the ear; it is only ________. millimetres long.

Men usually stop growing when they are ________. years old, women when they are ________.

Show answers

1 2 million   2 100,000   3 10%, 90%   4 2%, 1/5

5 0.5°C   6 30,000   7 206   8 1.27   9 20–22; 15–16

Transcript

1 Your body makes 2 million new blood cells every second.

2 There are nearly 100,000 kilometres of blood vessels in an average adult body.

3 Only 10% of the cells in our body are human; the other 90% are bacteria.

4 Your brain is only 2% of your body’s weight, but it uses one fifth of the oxygen.

5 Your temperature is usually about 0.5°C lower in the morning than in the evening.

6 Blondes have about 30,000 more hairs on their head than people with black hair.

7 Adult humans have 206 bones, but newborn babies have a lot more.

8 The smallest muscle in the body is inside the ear; it is only 1.27 millimetres long.

9 Men usually stop growing when they are 20–22 years old, women when they are 15–16.

4. Read the three short texts below about a Swedish woman called Anna Bågenholm, who had an accident. Then listen to an interview about her and decide which is the best summary of the accident. Underline the incorrect parts of the other options.

a Anna had an accident while skiing. Nobody found her for several hours and when they did, they believed she was dead. But when she arrived at the hospital, she came back to life.

b Anna tried to rescue a colleague who had an accident in the mountains, but fell into some freezing water. She only survived because a helicopter took her to hospital.

c Anna had an accident while skiing. She became so could that her breathing and heartbeat stopped for hours, but she made a full recovery.

Show answers

Summary c is correct.

The incorrect parts of the other options are:

a Nobody found her for several hours. When she arrived at the hospital, she came back to life.

b Anna tried to rescue a colleague who had an accident in the mountains.

Transcript

See exercise 6.

5. Listen again. Are the sentences true (T) or false (F)? Correct the false sentences.

About a third of people whose body temperature drops to below 28°C do not survive.

__________

Anna’s colleagues called for help seven minutes after the accident.

__________

The first rescue team cut a hole in the ice and the second team pulled her out.

__________

Anna’s body temperature was 30.7°C when she arrived at the hospital.

__________

Her heart did not begin beating again until her body temperature reached 36.4°C.

     _________

Show answers

1 F About two thirds of people whose body temperature drops to below 28°C do not survive.

2 T

3 F The second rescue team cut a hole in the ice and pulled her out.

4 F Anna’s body temperature was 13.7°C when she arrived at the hospital.

5 T

Transcript

Interviewer You have been looking at how the human body copes with very low temperatures. Is that right?

Scientist Yes, that’s right.

I And what have you found?

S Well, it’s an interesting question. Of course, freezing temperatures are bad for the body. You can get frostbite if your skin freezes. And about two thirds of people whose body temperature falls below 28° Celsius actually die. But at the same time, there are some people who have survived much lower body temperatures – and made a full recovery.

I   Can you give us an example?

Yes. There’s the famous case of a Swedish doctor called Anna Bågenholm. She was skiing in the mountains in Norway when she had an accident.

How did the accident happen?

S Well, she went skiing with two colleagues from hospital – Anna was a doctor, you see, and was studying to become a surgeon. Anyway, the three of them were skiing down a steep mountain when Anna lost control of her skis. She fell onto a sheet of ice, which was actually the surface of a stream. The ice broke and Anna fell headfirst through the hole, as far as her waist. Beneath the ice was water, freezing cold water.

I What did her two friends do?

S Well, they tried to pull her out by her legs – but she was trapped under the ice. She could breathe, because there was some air between the ice and the water, but she couldn’t move. After trying for seven minutes to free her, her two colleagues gave up and phoned for help.

I   And did help arrive quickly?

Two rescue teams set off to help Anna, one from the top of the mountain and one from the bottom. The one from the top arrived first, but they couldn’t pull her out of the ice.

What about the second team?

S The second team managed to get her out by cutting a hole in the ice. But by the time they got her free, she had been in the freezing water for 80 minutes. Anna was not breathing and her heart was not beating. A helicopter took her to hospital. When she arrived, her body temperature was 13.7° Celsius. According to the doctor in charge of the emergency room, Anna was ice cold and looked dead.

I But I guess she wasn’t.

S Well, no. There’s an expression among some doctors: ‘You aren’t dead until you’re warm and dead.’ In other words, sometimes people who are extremely cold can come back to life when they get warmer. Doctors at the hospital worked for nine hours to save Anna. When her temperature had risen to 36.4° Celsius, her heart started beating again. Gradually, after and days and weeks, Anna made a full recovery.

That’s amazing.

S Yes, and in 2009, ten years after the accident, Anna got a job working as a doctor in the hospital that had saved her life!