Hear and listen

The terms hear and listen are often misunderstood. In reality it is one thing to hear and another to listen, although in colloquial language they apply interchangeably.

We will clear the doubts by differentiating the two terms. “Hearing” refers only to the sense of hearing, while  “hearing” is the action of “hearing” done with will and conscience. It follows that one can hear without listening and never the other way around.

Hear
Listen
 ActionWith a sense of hearingWith a sense of hearing as well as will, conscience and reasoning.
 What do they hearSounds, noises and voicesMessages, music, signs
 CatchmentInvoluntary actIntentional act

What is hearing:

Hearing is said to be perceiving a sound through the sense of hearing. The ability to hear occurs through the sense of hearing. Through this, individuals hear and capture sounds. Sounds are are sensations that occur in the ear as a result of certain vibrations that involve bones, nerves, membranes of that sense. The sound passes through the air, reaches the ears and through vibrations sound waves are generated that then become nerve impulses that are interpreted by the brain as sounds.
Individuals can hear different sounds, noises, and voices as long as they are not hard of hearing or deaf. In the case of hearing, the sound is heard without the need to interpret it, to understand what is being heard.

Some examples:

* I hear distant footsteps (I hear the sound of distant footsteps)
* I hear music (I hear it because it comes from somewhere, not because I want to hear it).
* After hearing the noise the man opened the door and found the car wrecked.
* I do not think to hear more reproaches, I do what I want with my life.

What is listening:

Listening is very interesting, it means listening together with “paying attention “, that is, listening to the words, understanding the meaning of what is heard. When we listen, we not only put the auditory sense into operation but we must also put into operation cognitive functions, such as paying attention, trying to understand, think, reason, memorize, etc. So the nervous system and the brain are put into operation. Individuals can listen to messages, music, different signals, etc. We can also clarify that listening produces empathy from the receiver to the sender since he seeks to understand the message and not just hear it. We leave some examples of what it means to listen.

Examples of listening

* How nice to listen to classical music!
* The priest listens to the confession of the parishioner.
* I listen to you and analyze your proposals.
* I listen carefully to the teacher’s explanation.
Different ways of listening
There are different ways of listening and we can list them:
1. Selective
2. Appreciative
3. Analytical
4. Discerning
5. Empathic
6. Active

Listening can be synonymous with obeying

In other contexts listening is synonymous with obeying. We can read below some examples of listening as a synonym of obeying.
Some examples:
* I should have listened to (= followed) my uncle Hugo’s advice.
* I can’t hear your voice, you should sing louder. (Director of a choir).

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