The difference between hearing and listening

  • Hearing is a sensory experience that gathers sound waves indiscriminately. We can hear something without choosing to listen.
  • Listening is a voluntary activity that includes interpreting or processing that sound.

Listening Tips

When listening, always:

  • Keep an open mind.
  • Maintain eye contact and show interest.
  • Listen for the central themes.
  • Consider the speaker’s nonverbal behaviors and tone of voice.

While listening, you should avoid:

  • Being judgmental.
  • Interrupting the speaker.
  • Formulating a rebuttal.
  • Distorting the message based on your own beliefs.