Read the passage given below:
It is surprising that sometimes we don't listen to what people
say to us. We hear them, but we don't listen to them. I was
curious to know how hearing is different from listening. I had
thought both were synonyms, but gradually, I realised there is a
big difference between the two words.
Hearing is a physical phenomenon. Whenever somebody speaks, the
sound waves generated reach you, and you definitely hear whatever
is said to you. However, even if you hear something, it doesn't
always mean that you actually understand whatever is being said.
Paying attention to whatever you hear means you are really
listening. Consciously using your mind to understand whatever is
being said is listening.
Diving deeper, I found that listening is not only hearing with
attention, but is much more that that. Listening is hearing with
full attention, and applying our mind. Most of the time, we
listen to someone, but our minds are full of needless chatter and
there doesn't seem to be enough space to accommodate what is
We come with a lot of prejudices and preconceived notions about
the speaker or the subject on which he is talking. We pretend to
listen to the speaker, but deep inside, we sit in judgement and
are dying to pronounce right or wrong, true or false, yes or no.
Sometimes, we even come prepared with a negative mindset of
proving the speaker wrong. Even if the speaker says nothing
harmful, we are ready to pounce on him with our own version of
What we should ideally do is listen first with full awareness.
Once we have done that, we can decide whether we want to make a
judgement or not. Once we do that, communication will be perfect
and our interpersonal relationship will become so much better.
Listening well doesn't mean one has to say the right thing at the
right moment. In fact, sometimes if words are left unspoken,
there is a feeling of tension and negativity. Therefore, it is
better to speak out your mind, but do so with awareness after
listening to the speaker with full concentration.
Let's look at this in another way. When you really listen, you
imbibe not only what is being spoken, but you also understand
what is not spoken as well. Most of the time we don't really
listen even to people who really matter to us. That's how
misunderstandings grow among families, husbands and wives,
brothers and sisters.
(a) On the basis of your reading of the above passage make notes
on it, using heading and sub-headings. Use recognizable
abbreviations (wherever necessary − minimum
four) and a format you consider suitable. Also supply an
appropriate title to it.
(b) Write a summary of the passage in about 80 words.
1. Listening vs. Hearing
1.1 Difference between the two synonyms
1.2 Hearing but not listening
1.3 Paying attention
1.4 Hearing as a physical phenomenon
1.5 Consciously using your mind
1.6 Mind full of needless chatter
1.7 Accommodating what is said
2. Judgement about the speaker
2.1 Prejudiced & preconceived notions
2.2 Dying to pronounce right or wrong
2.3 Neg. mindset
2.4 Proving our ver. of things right
3. Ideal way of listening
3.1 Listen first
3.2 Listen with awareness
3.3 Think before you judge
3.4 Not to leave words unspoken
3.5 Speak your mind out
4. Listening to understand people
4.1 Imbibe what is not spoken
4.2 Times when we don't listen to people who matter
4.3 Triggers misunderstanding
List of abbreviations used
1. Vs. - Versus
2. Neg. - Negative
3. Ver. - Version
4. Don't - Do not
Title – Listening Versus Hearing
(b) Sometimes, we hear people but do not listen to them
attentively. The difference between the two synonyms is that one
is a physical phenomenon while the other is a conscious use of
We, as listeners, often have preconceived notions about the
speaker. We come prepared with a negative mindset, tend to prove
them wrong and pounce our own version of things. Ideally, we
should listen to them, understand their perception and stop
judging them in order to avoid misunderstandings.