Hearing vs Listening – Mastering Communication

Filed in Articles by on November 24, 2022

While it is impossible to practice hearing, it is possible to practice and improve your listening skills. Anyone can be a good listener once they can distinguish the differences between hearing and listening. Read on to learn more.

Differences Between Hearing and Listening

It is obvious from their definitions alone how drastically different the two are from one another. Being attentive while listening makes it an active process.

Since you can’t close your ears, noises will always enter and be heard. Hearing is passive. It is therefore become involuntary.

It is often said that “Listening is done with the mind, but hearing is done with the ears.”

Before we dive in, let us consider some major differences between hearing and listening in the table below:

1.The process, function, or capacity of experiencing a sound” is the definition of hearing.listening, on the other hand, is to hear anything with careful attention.
2.Hearing is involuntaryListening is voluntary
3.Hearing refers to one’s ability to perceive sounds, by receiving vibrations through ears.Being aware of your listening involves analyzing and comprehending the noises you hear.
4.Hearing never stops. Because hearing is a physiological element of being, you will hear sounds all day long.Listening is a psychological activity. It is only effective for a short period of time since it demands concentration and focus, which are unavailable throughout the day.  

Listening is difficult because it requires concentration and attention, and the human mind is easily distracted.

People use it as a technique to comprehend what is being said, through different verbal and non-verbal signs, i.e. how it is being said? What type of words is used? Tone and pitch of voice, body language and so on.

Many people use the words “hearing” and “listening” interchangeably; however, there are several important differences between the two. That is why we have put up this article for you, to help differentiate these two actions. Read on to learn more.

Active listening is the key element; that makes the communication process effective. Further, it encompasses making sounds that show listener’s attentiveness and providing feedback.

It had a greater influence in our lives and used to gain information, learn and understand things and so on.

Active listening can be summed up in one word: curious. The United States Institute of Peace defines active listening as “a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding.”

This is how you want to listen if you’re seeking to understand another person or looking for a solution.

A passive listener, particularly at work or in school, isn’t attempting to contribute to the conversation. It’s not a very effective approach to interact with others. Gilliland advises against using it around your spouse or children because they would instantly detect it.

Curiosity is the essence of active listening. Active listening is “a manner of listening and responding to another person that increases mutual understanding,” according to the United States Institute of Peace.

In other words, this is how you want to listen if you want to understand another person or seek a solution.

Active and Passive Listening

One-way communication is known as passive listening, in which the recipient does not offer comments or queries and may or may not comprehend the sender’s message.

Responding in a way that shows you comprehend what the other person is attempting to tell you about their experience is an example of active listening.

In active listening, the listener is actively trying to internalize and comprehend what they are hearing. This calls for drive and direction. The objective of the listener is to engage and take part.

When a listener is disengaged and unresponsive, passive listening occurs.                                       

Reasons Hearing is Different from Listening

Some people confuse these two actions, but there is a whole lot of things that makes them different. Below are some of those reasons.

1. The Emotional Reason: How much we care determines how much we listen. When we are listening to someone communicate, the side ideas that come to mind can be reduced by how deeply we care.

2. Physiological Basis: Patience and practice are necessary for effective listening. This is based on a number of factors

3. Words are actually processed by our brains more quickly than humans speak them. Major differences exist. On average, people speak 125 words per minute, yet our brains can process 800 words per minute. Because of this, we are able to take in words while continuing to ponder.

Importance of Hearing

Our ability to hear is a crucial sense that aids in world navigation. The loss of hearing can significantly impact mental health since it can cause sadness, social disengagement, self-worth changes, and anger.

Importance of Listening 

We are social creatures with a deep desire to belong and connect. We can become more compassionate and empathic, more curious in other people’s lives, and more connected when we listen.

Your sense of connection and belonging may suffer if you are not listening to others or are not being heard. You undoubtedly remember a time when you didn’t feel like you were being heard.

As a result, you could have felt unappreciated, alone, and uncared for, all of which can lead to feelings of guilt, worry, and melancholy.

How to Be an Active Listener

Active listening requires attention and care. Here are ways in which you can practice being an active listener:

1. Ask meaningful questions: You can do this by paying close attention and listening. You can understand what the speaker is attempting to say and give clear, concise questions in return to advance the dialogue.

2. Be curious: Curiosity may elevate us to new heights in anything we do in life. You’ll be more attentive and focused when you listen with a genuine curiosity and desire to learn more.

3. Maintain your focus by silencing all other thoughts in your head and paying close attention to what is being said. Meditation is one method you might use to hone your focus outside of active listening.

This exercise will teach you how to be present so that, while you are having a discussion with someone else, your thoughts are on what is going on with them rather than on the past or the future.

4. Don’t fill in the blanks: Avoid doing so if a portion of someone’s tale feels incomplete. Instead, ask the questions that will make the content clearer and easier to understand.

5. Get rid of your preconceived notions and judgments. When you prejudge or assume something, you essentially shut the door to new information, which makes it harder for you to pay attention and listen. Gaining more curiosity will also help you let go of preconceived notions and judgments.

6. Avoid speaking so much: Avoiding interruptions is one of the fundamental principles of listening and occasionally the most difficult. You must wait for signs that someone has finished speaking in order to attentively listen before speaking. This manifests as their closing a thought or sentence.

The Basic Components of Effective Communication

Good communication strengthens bonds between people. It plays a significant role in learning and problem-solving as well.

To achieve your objectives and advance things, you must be an effective communicator in all facets of life. The following are some of the fundamentals of communicating effectively:

  • Getting a meaning
  • avoid interfering
  • posing precise inquiries
  • stating what was said by the other person

Benefits of Listening

The advantages of listening are numerous and very strong. You can only comprehend others, improve relationships, persuade or sell effectively, manage and inspire a team, or learn from others through effective listening. The key to achieving your goals and maintaining your well-being is listening.

In our world today, there are countless ways to communicate. But with so much information out there, it can be challenging to recall what we hear. Because of this, active listening is crucial.

It’s also one of the factors influencing the rapid advancement of podcasts and the digital audio entertainment revolution. We all enjoy stories, and hearing them aloud can help us recall and comprehend them.

Additionally, listening helps us feel understood. We can tell whether someone is understanding us when they actively listen to us because it shows that they are paying attention and caring about what we have to say. Below are some other things which listening can build.

Listening helps us understand

  • Exchange memories
  • Make real and lasting friendships
  • Discourse and conflict resolution
  • Create answers to the current issues

Conclusion on Hearing vs Listening

Even while we frequently confuse hearing with listening, the latter is actually a more active activity. In truth, there are activities you can do to improve your listening skills.

While trying to be more intentional about listening, you can connect with those around you and strengthen your relationships with them by making an effort to actively listen to them.

Do you find this helpful? If yes, please do well to hit the like and share button!

CSN Team.

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