What is listening?

Is there a difference between ‘listening’ and ‘hearing’?
When googling the ‘difference between hearing and listening,’ the following result displays in the search result:
“Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.”
The result was fetched from the University of Minnesota Duluth (www.d.umn.edu/student/loon/acad/strat/ss_hearing.html)
What is being said may make sense at first sight. Yet, it is not the whole story. Let’s look at the first statement: “Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear.”
It is true that ears are needed to hear. The question would be if the ear is perceiving the sound or if it is just an organ through which our awareness perceives.
In my opinion, the ears are sense organs and not the perceivers.
It’s like looking through a window (eyes) to see the landscape. The window doesn’t perceive the landscape, it just facilitates the seeing.
As far as “listening” is concerned, the claim is that it “requires concentration, so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.”
In this second part are so many assumptions, it is almost hilarious. One implied assumption is that listening is only applicable to “words and sentences.”
What about listening to music, to the sounds of nature or the sounds of traffic?
Those sounds are primarily non-verbal. We can definitely listen to those sounds as well, or do you never listen to music, nature, traffic? Would that be just hearing?
In my opinion, the most beautiful way to listen to sounds is non-verbal. Have you ever felt that there was a perceiving of music without “processing meaning from (added) words and sentences?”
This type of holistic listening requires a relaxed mind, not an agitated mind. In fact, any mental chatter is likely to reduce the fullness of perceiving.
Meanings that are added by thought tend to fragment the perceiving.
Scroll to Top

Yes! Send Me The PDF Version of 'How to Make Strings Last Longer'

(I’m in a hurry right now.) I’d like to get the PDF version sent to my favourite inbox so I can save and read it later – please send it here:
This form collects information that we will use to send you updates, promotions and special offers. For more information about our privacy practices please Click Here. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.