Difference Between Hearing and Listening

Difference between hearing and listening

We are hearing and listening to the words are not the same things. There are some ultimate differences between them. The process of Listening can be more complex as compared to hearing, but it’s significant to have people in our lives who listen to us, and we can listen to them in return.

Difference Between Hearing and Listening

Some of the significant differences between hearing and listening are as follows: 

The process of hearing 

Hearing can be defined as: “the process, function or power of perceiving different kinds of sound with diverse frequencies.” Many times people hear something, they are aware of the noise or sound it makes, but they don’t necessarily interpret or make sense of it. Hearing is a physiological activity that is related to the physical biology of human beings. Sometimes people also hear things subconsciously. It’s not always within their conscious control.

The process of listening 

On the other hand, Listening can be defined as a process “to pay attention to sound” or “to hear something. To listen, it is compulsory to interpret the sound that we hear. People pay attention to sounds, process them, and in the end, try to make sense of them. It’s a mindful, psychological process.

The science of hearing

The process of hearing involves the following steps: 

  • Whenever a particular sound reaches the human ear, it travels to change it from a soundwave to an electrical signal. Soundwaves usually start at the outer ear, travel through the ear canal, and reach the eardrum, causing vibrations. Three tiny bones in the human ear accept these vibrations, send them towards the inner ear, where sound waves go through some steps to create electrical signals. These signals are carried to the human brain and turned into an understandable sound. 
  • This process includes everything that happens along the pathway from the inner ear to the brain and how a human brain processes the sound after receiving it. 
  • The process of hearing also involves ‘tuning in’ to sound, differentiating between different types of sounds, noticing variances in tone, speed, and pitch, memorizing and recalling information, and the way humans process some specific sounds against any background noise.

The science of listening: Difference between hearing and listening

The procedure of listening comprises the following steps: 

  • Listening is a psychological process, and The way an average human listens can change depending on what they are listening to and the conditions they are in. The process of listening links to human working memory such as long-term memory, language ‘store,’ exclusive function, and attention. Usually, humans interpret ‘speech’ sounds in a different way as compared to other sounds.
  • Ideally, when someone speaks, the human brain rapidly matches their words with words in their well-organized mental vocabulary ‘store.’ This way, it becomes possible to understand what someone is saying. 
  • However, there are some alternative methods of understanding speech as well. It includes the usage of existing information of sounds. And they are going into the long-term memory to fill in gaps. In the information, they have heard. It’s just like the way when children learn to read and try to ‘sound it out.

Also read: Difference between blog and vlog.


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