When you’re talking with someone, it’s natural for your mind to wander to other topics. For example, suppose you have a lot on your plate and are trying to figure out all you need to get done. Perhaps you just argued with your lover and are still furious about it. Or maybe you’re fatigued and begin thinking about how comfortable your bed will be when you rest for the night.
When your mind wanders, you’re still hearing the other person, but you’re not truly listening to what they’re saying. This, however, might have a detrimental impact on your talks and relationships with others if they believe you rarely listen to them.
This article describes the differences between hearing and listening and how they affect mental health. It also includes some suggestions for becoming a better listener and improving your relationships.
What is Hearing?
The physiological act of hearing sounds is central to the definition of hearing. Hearing, according to Merriam-Webster, is the “process, function, or power of receiving sound; specifically: the unique sense through which noises and tones are received as stimuli.”
Hearing is a passive, physical activity that involves the perception of sound and requires only one sense. It is not dependent on concentration. Hearing is similar to data collection; we hear sounds and words all day long, even when not paying attention to them.
What is Listening?
The definition of listening is actively paying attention to the words and sounds you hear to absorb their meaning and produce an emotional response. According to Merriam-Webster, listening means “to hear anything with careful attention.” Listening is a conscious, active process that necessitates the use of numerous senses.
Listening is a choice act, which means that an individual can choose whether or not to hear. It is an active process if you choose to listen. You can listen to sounds and words without having to listen or focus on what you’re hearing. Hearing is an example of the expression “in one ear and out the other.”
Passive Listening vs. Active Listening
Listening is divided into two types: active and passive. Experts in communication use these concepts to describe good connections between peers, coworkers, romantic partners, friends, and family.
Curiosity, drive, purpose, and work are required. For a meaningful conversation, the engaged listener tries to internalize and comprehend what they hear. Active listening is the technique to listen if you want to understand or solve a problem with another person.
Passive listening is the reverse of active listening. Passive listening is defined as detached, inattentive, and unreceptive listening. A passive listener has no motivation to participate actively. A passive listener has developed an opinion and is hesitant to collaborate with the other person to find a solution. Passive listening is not an excellent approach to communicating with people you want to meet.
Importance Of Hearing In Mental Health
Hearing is a crucial sense that assists us in navigating the environment. Hearing loss can significantly impact mental health, including anger, social disengagement, changes in our understanding of self-worth, and melancholy.
It’s vital to remember that employing sign language and paying attention to body language are two methods to listen without hearing. If you suffer depression or adjustment difficulties due to your hearing loss, you can seek mental health assistance.
Importance of Listening In Mental Health
Humans are social creatures with an innate desire to belong and connect. Listening allows us to acquire more profound curiosity about other people’s experiences, compassion, empathy, and fellowship.
It can be detrimental to your sense of connection and belonging if you are not listening to people or being listened to. You can undoubtedly recall a time when you were not heard; the experience may have left you feeling devalued, uncared for, and lonely, all of which can add to feelings of shame, anxiety, and depression.
How to Become a Better Listener?
Now that you understand the distinction between active and passive listening, you might be interested in learning how to develop your functional listening skills to improve your communication skills and interpersonal connections.
Don’t ask silly questions
We’ve all shared something with someone and sometimes got an “ok” or “uh” reaction. It seems disheartening, and it is clear that they are not listening or are not interested in participating in the dialogue. Active listening necessitates asking open-ended questions and being genuinely interested in the conversation. When someone shares something with you, take the initiative to learn more by asking probing questions. By asking who/what/where/when/how questions regarding what the other person is saying, you communicate that you are paying attention and want to learn more.
Wait for your turn to speak
As humans, we listen to talk. We enjoy hearing ourselves speak. We frequently interrupt others before they finish speaking. An active listener must wait until the other person has finished speaking. We accomplish this by depending on signs that someone has finished speaking. Nonverbal cues or listening to the end of a statement or thought are examples of this. Consider attending to be paying attention to learn. Concentrate on the words being spoken and pay attention to how they are said. We should pause for a moment before sharing our thoughts with others.
Always Pay Attention
To focus on the conversation, you must filter out other thoughts and sounds in your head to pay attention to the words being stated. Staying present in a discussion might be difficult, but putting your phone aside and limiting other distractions will help you focus on the current topic.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1 – What is hearing in the listening process?
As fundamental as it may seem, we must first physically hear what we listen to gather information successfully. Hearing occurs when sound waves strike the eardrum and register. The easier the sound, the easier to listen.
2 – What is the distinction between hearing and listening to a speech?
Hearing is the physiological act of attending to sound in one’s environment; listening, on the other hand, is a focused, concentrated approach to comprehending the message sent by a source.
3 – Which comes first, listening or hearing?
Listening is distinct from hearing in that it entails much more than the ear’s reception of sound. Rather than that, listening is an active process in which the ear absorbs information. The brain processes it to enable the listener and ultimately the data provider to understand and utilize it.