In this article we explore the differences between listening and hearing.


Just be quiet for 60 seconds.

Seriously for the next 60 seconds just listen intently, make a note of what you are listening too

Once you've done this click here

In those 60 seconds what did you write down?

What sounds were there? Were there conversations? Did it make sense?


Were you listening or were you hearing?

The chances are you were not listening, but hearing. Let's look at the definitions from the Oxford Dictionary.

To hear - 'Perceive with the ear the sound made by (someone or something):'

To listen - 'Give one’s attention to a sound:'

The key differences to me are:

HEARING - I do not process the info to recall, the sounds happen, but I do not need to understand

Whereas in

LISTENING - I give attention to do something to understand it, to process it.

I think these examples really show the difference

"I hear the birds, but I listen to the apprentice"


"I hear the radio in the background, but I listen intently to my child discuss their day"

So next time you say you are listening, do you mean that you are Listening-Listening or Hearing!

Why not look at some other The different types of listening How to become a better listener

About the author

phil laviolettephil laviolette

Hi!, I'm Phil LaViolette, Founder and Owner of evalu8d. I created resourcily to share hints, tips and resources I've collected over 20 years of training and coaching, across lots of industries and at all levels. I hope that, even in a small way, you gain from the tools I share!