Listening v/s Hearing

Listening and Hearing, though synonyms, are completely different. Hearing is a step-by-step process. Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. Even if youare not hearing, still it happens.

Listening is something that one consciously chooses to do. It requires concentration, so that one is able to process meanings from words and sentences. Listening leads to learning.

You can listen to someone without actually hearing them. Hearing occurs even in sleep, where the ear processes the sounds and passes them to the brain.

Listening is also known as ‘ Active Listening’. It is a technique that is used in commuication, which requires a person to pay attention to the speaker and provides feedback. Listening is a step ahead of Hearing. Listening requires one to derieve meaning from the sound that is heard and then react to it. Listening is the process of communication, where if the person is not listening, it can cause a break in communication.

There are 4 types of communicators:

1. Passive Listeners: Passive Listeners are those who hear the words but refrain to absorb the meaning and provide vague answers at the end of the communication.

2. Non- listeners: Non-listeners are those who are pre-occupied in their own thoughts and ideas, though they are listening, they may not give attention.


3. Listeners- Listeners are those who hear and listen but grasp only things that are of their interest. This is common for those who only listen and cease feeding anything in the conversation, as they are aware that their views are different.

4. Active Listeners- Active listeners are the best in the category. They not only listen and hear, but also listen with an open mind and have patience. They are completely focused on the speaker.

Thus, the major difference between hearing and listening is, while hearing one just refers to the ears picking up sounds but listening means to interpret those sounds, understand them and provide an adequate response.

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