Hearing is Not Synonymous with Listening

by Kim Taylor

For those with unimpaired hearing, sound is just there … something that just sort of happens.  We probably spend more time trying to block out sound and noise than we do actually appreciating how powerful the sense really is.

But, hearing is not synonymous with listening.

Listening is tied to attention and attention runs the gamut from requiring practically no brainpower at all to the kind of attention you pay when signals in your brain sorta tap you on the shoulder and tell you to focus in on one particular sound over another.

Fortunately, if we’re not a good listener—the kind of person so acutely in tune with sound that they can immediately pull the bass line out of any song—we can become one.  In the communications business, listening enables our ability to accurately develop and convey messages.  But, only if we’ve truly heard what is said.

Think of it this way:  if hearing is reading, then listening is reading between the lines.

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