Hearing Vs. Listening: Know The Differences To Avoid Complications In Your Life!

Last Update on December 23, 2022 : Published on December 24, 2022
Hearing Vs. Listening

Whenever we get into a conversation with someone, we look forward to openly drifting their thoughts into our minds. Most of the time, we are not able to exactly understand their thoughts with empathy…ever wondered why? Well, it happens because sometimes, we fill so much on our plate and we constantly keep thinking about getting things done, when we get into an argument with someone or when we are just experiencing burnout and want to go to bed.

Overall, it’s all about the wandering mind that does not let you drift thoughts of someone you’re talking to. Do you know that a wandering mind or absence in communication can cause relationship issues? It makes the other person feel that you don’t listen to them or are barely interested in them. If you are also going through this phase …don’t worry!

This article explores the major differences in hearing and listening along with some effective ways to become a better listener. With the help of this blog, you will be able to enhance your listening skills with empathy.

We often use both terms interchangeably thinking that these terms have similar meanings. While it is not true! Hearing and listening are both different terms with different meanings and different psychological effects. Therefore, it is important to learn the meanings of two terms before understanding the differences.

What are Hearing and Listening?

According to Merriam-Webster, hearing can be defined as the process, power, or function of perceiving sound. “It is the special sense by which noises and tones are received as stimuli.”

According to Merriam-Webster, listening means “to pay attention to sound, to hear something with thoughtful action, and to give consideration.”

If you will observe properly, you will be able to find the huge differences between the two directly. According to psychology, hearing and listening have night and day differences. Hearing is more like collecting data. Hearing is a simple process that needs no response.

Meanwhile, listening is different because it is three-dimensional. According to marriage counselors, people who are successful at work, in friendships, and in relationships have honed their listening skills. Hearing is one-sided and does not include any response. Meanwhile, listening includes active participation in the conversation so that people can support and provide a helpful solution.

The Major Differences between Hearing and Listening

There are five major differences between hearing and listening, such as

Hearing is a passive process. Listening is an active process.
Process of hearing does not require understanding. Process of listening does require an effort to understand.
Hearing does not require any kind of effort. Listening required a lot of effort, concentration, and focus.
Hearing is the process of perceiving sound. Listening is the process of understanding and responding to the conversation.
Hearing includes perceiving multiple sounds at a time. Listening includes perceiving one sound at a time.

The Importance of Listening and Hearing on Mental Health

Both listening and hearing plays an essential role. Listening can be used to form better connections meanwhile hearing can be used for developing various sensory inputs.

Talking about the importance of hearing in mental health, I could conclude that hearing is also an important skill for mental health. It helps us in navigating the world. The inability to hear properly can lead to social withdrawal, loss of sense-worth, depression, anger, and others. Therefore, it is always important to pay attention to everything happening in the environment.

Talking about the importance of listening to mental health, I could conclude that listening helps us in forming better connections with people. Listening develops curiosity which helps in showing compassion and empathy to others. The inability to listen without focus can negatively impact your mental health and relationships with others.

It can result in feelings of being devalued, lonely, or uncared which can cause shame, depression, anxiety, and others. Listening not only strengthens the relationship but also provides us with the strength to resolve or manage conflicts.

Common Issues Related to Not Listening Without Focus,

Generally speaking, people nowadays respond directly even without understanding the whole context or the intent of the speaker. This means that people rely more on hearing than listening. This could be due to some possible reasons like:

  • You lack skills in listening with focus
  • You are distracted, daydreaming, or busy all the time
  • You have social anxiety
  • You are not interested
  • You do not understand the value of relationships or connections

Quick Takeaway: Tips to Become a Good Listener

If you are looking forward to becoming a good listener for forming better relationships and connections with others, you can take the help of below-mentioned tips to become a good listener:

  • Set an intention prior
  • Be mindful during the conversation
  • Be curious and ask questions after understanding the context
  • Avoid making assumptions and judgments
  • Summarize everything before asking questions
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Try to put away the distractions

Related Read: 7 Amazing tips to become a good listener

I hope this blog helps you understand the differences between hearing and listening. Comment down and share your views on becoming a better listener. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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