Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hearing Vs Listening

If you think there is a difference between hearing and listening, you are right, there is! Hearing is the ear perceiving sound.  Hearing simply happens. For instance, you hear while you sleep, you don't have to do anything it just happens.  Other then having ears that can hear, there is nothing you need to do.  Even folks with mild to moderate hearing loss can hear somewhat.

Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain finds meaning in words and sentences.  Some people are “hard of listening”.  Have you ever heard the term “selective hearing”?  This term reflects the act of listening or rather, not listening.  The key here is that it is an active process requiring participation on the part of the listener.   

Listening leads to learning.  First, we “tune in” to what we hear.  Then the brain applies meaning to the sounds. It’s a way of gathering information, allowing for an exchange of ideas and thoughts.  This is where communication happens. 

When one has hearing loss, there is a breakdown right at the ear itself.  When let go over time, the brain stops trying to listen and communication becomes challenged.  Over time the brain stops trying and words become even less clear, less distinct.  This is where hearing aids can bring about great improvements.  By helping the ear to hear better, the brain receives more of the signal and is able to find more meaning in the words and sentences.  Plus using hearing aids can also help the brain to stay sharp.

If words are mumbled, or if you feel people speak softly, have a hearing evaluation.  It will help to determine if you hear normally.  It’s the first step to good communication. 

Life sounds great!  Enjoy every moment!

Jane Kukula, AuD
Paula Webster, MA

Advanced Audiology Concepts
8897 Mentor Ave
Mentor, Ohio 44060

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