The difference between listening and hearing has to do with the types of physiological or cognitive processes associated with each.
To hear is to perceive a sound, which requires the functioning of the sense of ear and the auditory system to interpret what it is.
Listening, on the other hand, involves not only the act of hearing the sounds, but understanding them and responding according to these stimuli. Therefore, it involves cognitive processes of attention, concentration, memory and learning.
|to feel||To listen|
|definition||Ability to perceive sound stimuli.||Ability to pay attention to sounds and interpret them.|
|Systems and processes involved||
|Factors that can influence||
|examples||Being in the street and hearing the sound of trees, car horns and pedestrian footsteps simultaneously.||Hearing a conversation, paying attention to what is being said, understanding it and generating a coherent response from what is heard.|
what is feeling
Sensing is the act of perceiving a sound, therefore it refers to the physiological ability to receive a stimulus in the form of sound waves and interpret it.
When we walk down the street and can perceive the sound of the wind, the horns of performances or some nearby conversation, we are hearing.
Listening does not require a specific action or will. The sounds are in the environment and the auditory system is responsible for capturing them.
In this sense, hearing is a response of our body to a sound stimulus, it is not something we can control at will. This means that we cannot avoid hearing, unless we take appropriate measures (wear headphones, cover our ears or be in an isolated room).
Sentir comes from Latin to hearwhich means to perceive a sound.
What do we need to feel?
To hear, the correct functioning of the auditory system is required, which consists of three parts:
It is the visible part of the ear. It is composed of the lobe, the auricle and the eardrum.
It is the part that communicates the outer ear with the inner ear. There is the chain of bones, composed of three bony structures called hammer, anvil and stirrup.
It contains the cochlea (a screw-shaped structure) the hearing cells and nerves that send sound to the brain.
How does the auditory system work?
Sound is composed of sound waves. These stimuli enter through the outer ear and pass through the eardrum generating vibrations.
These vibrations reach the middle ear and the ossicular chain is responsible for receiving and sending them to the inner ear.
When these sound waves reach the cochlea, they trigger the output of the hair cells, which are responsible for converting the vibrations into electrical impulses, which will then be sent to the brain via the auditory nerve.
Once in the brain, these impulses are interpreted as sounds. This means that the auditory system does not stop, since this process happens uninterruptedly with all the sound stimuli that are in the environment and that we can perceive.
Factors that can affect hearing
Having an auditory system does not mean that you have the ability to hear. There are a few factors that can affect this ability:
- Pathologies (congenital or not) that generated hearing loss.
- Age: in some people, aging involves hearing loss.
- traumasthat is, accidents or injuries that damaged the hearing system.
Depending on the type of pathology or trauma, it is possible to fully or partially recover the ability to hear with the help of hearing aids or clinking implants, after medical evaluation.
What is listening?
Listening is the act of paying attention to a sound. This requires the functioning of the auditory system and, in addition, other cognitive and psychological processes or functions.
Listening requires the will of the listener, because if your auditory system is working properly you will hear. But it is their interest, ability to concentrate, attention and memory that will allow them to understand, retain and even respond to what they hear.
Listen comes from Latin auscultatewhich means “bend to apply the ear”.
How do we listen?
There are several elements in the communication process:
- Emitter: is the one who sends the message.
- receiver: is the one who receives the message.
- Code: is the system used to create the message (Spanish language, binary code, etc.).
- message: is that what you want to transmit or communicate.
- channel: is the medium used to send the message (phone, web, email, etc.).
- noise: these are interferences or problems that may arise during communication.
- feedback: it is the response given by the receiver, who from that moment on becomes the sender.
- Context: it is the situation in which the communicative act is generated.
For the communication process to take place successfully, the sender must send a message, and the receiver must receive and interpret it. If the situation warrants it, the receiver must respond (feedback), but you won’t be able to do it properly if you didn’t understand or didn’t pay attention to the message.
A classic example of listening is that of a class where all students hear what is being said, but not all listen. Some students are not paying attention, others may not hear well, others may be able to hear, but lack the cognitive ability to understand what they are hearing, etc.
Factors that can affect listening
Hearing does not necessarily imply listening. There are some factors that can interfere with this process:
- Hearing problems: if a sound is not perceived properly, it will be difficult to interpret it.
- Attention difficulties: people with attention deficit disorder cannot concentrate on a task for a prolonged period of time. This can lead to listening problems.
- Problems in the communication process: noise, incomplete message, failures in communication channels, etc.
- Cognitive problems: Memory loss or dementia can make it difficult to understand what has been heard.