Note Making: Hearing is Different from Listening

It is surprising that sometimes we don’t listen to what people say to us. We hear them, but we don’t listen to them. I was curious to know how hearing is different from listening. I had thought both were synonyms, but gradually, I realized there is a big difference between the two words. Hearing is a physical phenomenon. Whenever somebody speaks, the sound waves generated to reach your ears and you definitely hear whatever is said to you. However, even if you hear something, it doesn’t always mean that you actually understand whatever is being said. Paying attention to whatever you hear means you are really listening. Consciously using your mind to understand whatever is being said is listening. Diving deeper, I found that listening is not only hearing with attention, but is much more than that. Listening is hearing with full attention, and applying our mind. Most of the time, we listen to someone, but our minds are full of needless chatter and there doesn’t seem to be enough space to accommodate what is being spoken.

We come with a lot of prejudices and preconceived notions about the speaker or the subject on which he is talking. We pretend to listen to the speaker, but deep inside, we sit in judgement and are dying to pronounce right or wrong, true or false, yes or no. Sometimes, we even come prepared with a negative mindset of proving the speaker wrong. Even if the speaker says nothing harmful, we are ready to pounce on him with our own version of things.

What we should ideally do is to listen first with full awareness. Once we have done that, we can decide whether we want to make a judgement or not. Once, we do that, communication will be perfect and our interpersonal relationship will become so much better. Listening well doesn’t mean one has to say the right thing at the right moment. In fact, sometimes if words are left unspoken, there is a feeling of tension and negativity. Therefore, it is better to speak out your mind but do so with awareness after listening to the speaker with full concentration. Let’s look at this in another way. When you really listen to, you imbibe not only what is being spoken, but you also understand what is not spoken as well. Most of the time we don’t really listen even to people who really matter to us. That’s how misunderstandings grow among families, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters.

Q. On the basis of your reading of the above passage make notes on it, using headings and sub-headings. Use recognizable abbreviations (wherever necessary – minimum four) and a format you consider suitable. Also supply an appropriate title to it.


Listening Vs. Hearing

  1. Difference between the two synonyms
    1. Hearing but not listening
    2. Paying attention
    3. Hearing as a physical phenomenon
    4. Consciously using your mind
    5. Minds are full of needless chatter
    6. Accommodating what is said
  2. Barries to Listening
    1. Prejudices and preconceived notions
    2. Negative Mindset
    3. Pretend to listen
    4. Proving our ver. of things right
  3. Ideal way of listening
    1. Listen first
    2. Listen with awareness
    3. Think before you judge
    4. Words unspoken leave a feeling of tension and negativity
    5. Speak your mind out
  4. Listening to understand people
    1. Imbibe what is not spoken
    2. Times when we don’t listen to people who matter
    3. Triggers misunderstanding
  5. Importance of listening
    1. Reduce misunderstanding
    2. Perfect communication
    3. Inprove interpersonal relationships

List of abbreviations used

  1. Vs. – Versus
  2. Ver. – Version
  3. Don’t – Do not

Q. Write a summary of the passage in about 80 words.

Sometimes, we hear people but do not listen to them attentively. The difference between the two synonyms is that one is a physical phenomenon while the other is a conscious use of mind.
We, as listeners, often have preconceived notions about the speaker. We come prepared with a negative mindset, tend to prove them wrong . and put forward our own version of things. Ideally, we should listen to them, understand their perception and stop judging them in order to avoid misunderstandings.

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