Most of hear what is said to us and we also feel that we listen well, too. However, there is a big difference between hearing and listening. Let’s look at several distinctive differences between the two.
When we hear what is being said, those words are transferred from our ears to our brain and then we often nod in agreement or disagreement or do nothing at all. Hearing is passive, only involves our ears and involves little to no passion. We simply take in what has been said and then go on from there. In addition, hearing is often emotionless, involuntary and shows little feeling for another. Basically, hearing is the way we understand the meaning of sound, the vibrations that come from it.
Hearing is also having the ability to perceive and interpret sound. It is a special kind of sensation that delivers to us, what is being said, no matter where or who is giving off the sound. To clarify, hearing is a bodily element of listening and happens when sounds waves approach our ears at a certain loudness and frequency.
Listening on the other hand, is complex, active and often the listener will seek out further information and participate more in what is being said. Listening often gives the impression to others by the way we look and act, that we care about and want the best for others. A good listener is one who actively hears what is said. The listening process involves various required stages: understanding, attending, receiving, remembering and responding.
Listening also shows that we’re interested in another’s point of view, beliefs and feelings. By listening we show to others that we want to know what they’re thinking, what they like or don’t like and that we respect them as a human being. When we want someone to listen to us, we want most of all to be acknowledged that we’re a human being and to be appreciated for whom we are and what we’re doing with our lives.
When a person strives to become a good listener, he or she is on the way to become a better and more effective communicator. When you understand better how important it is to communicate well, you begin to see the importance of not just passively hearing, but actively listening.
Finally, effective and concentrated listening is vital to our personal and professional lives because listening helps to keep us informed, keep us out of trouble and to do what needs to be done. And by listening well we are perceived by others to be more valuable and appreciated. And, by listening we become more knowledgeable and from that knowledge we can become better in most everything we do.