i think spanish logo

Hearing vs listening: What are the differences?

hearing vs. listening what are the differences in learning spanish

In learning a language, it is necessary to focus on the language you hear. What do you think is the difference between hearing and listening?

Hearing vs listening

hearing vs. listening in learning spanish

According to a study from Ohio University, the average adult spends more than 70% of their waking hours socializing in some way. In addition to speaking and listening, 16% of that time is spent reading. Since 45% of our communication time is spent listening, we must develop practical listening skills to gain from communication fully.

The consensus is that, unlike the learned skills of reading, writing, and speaking, listening is a natural action that everyone without a physical handicap can perform without conscious effort. But it’s not that simple since listening requires a complicated set of emotional and physical abilities.


The ability to hear is an automatic sensory system that enables humans to listen to sounds. It is a physiological response related to how we perceive sound. It does not require concentration. For instance, when watching television, you can still hear your neighbor’s dog barking, the sound of traffic outside, and people laughing.


Understanding the words you hear requires focused, intentional listening, which calls for your careful attention. As a result, you might feel something when you hear something. Active listening is defined as hearing with the goal of understanding.

You might be paying careful attention to someone if, for instance, they are discussing a poor day. You will understand their experience more as they speak. This will enable you to make insightful remarks and ask pertinent questions to understand their viewpoint better.

To sum it up:


  • No effort is necessary;
  • Involuntary;
  • Sound perception on a physiological level.


  • Demands effort;
  • Voluntary;
  • Deliberate amplification of sound.

Kevin Gilliland, a clinical psychologist, claims that the difference between hearing and listening is like day and night. Hearing is a primary and easy task. Contrarily, listening is a three-dimensional activity. According to Gilliland, those who are successful in their careers, marriages, or friendships have honed their listening skills.

Active and passive listeners: What are the differences?

active and passive listeners what are the differences in learning spanish

We may go much further in our concept of listening. Communication experts often use active and passive listening. One word best describes an inquisitive listener: active. The United States Institute of Peace defines active listening as “an approach to listening and reacting to another person that enhances mutual understanding.”

In other words, if you’re attempting to comprehend someone else or seeking a solution, this is the listening you want to do. Passive listening is at the other extreme. Gilliland asserts that a passive listener, particularly at work or in a classroom, does not attempt to participate in the discourse. It is ineffective as a means of interpersonal communication.

Why is listening so crucial while learning a language?

Speaking is valued highly by many language students. They do not make as much of an attempt to listen. However, it is a shock to many beginning speakers that listening to a foreign language is difficult. If you’ve ever taken a test in a second language, you know that the listening portion is typically the most challenging.

The ability to listen is crucial for the development of language. We listen for around half of the time, as was previously suggested. Do you spend 50% of your learning time engaging in listening activities? The answer is to listen more frequently. But you must develop your listening skills.

Please find out how we can enhance our ability to listen to foreign languages. Learn more about language learning and how to do it quickly.

Listening is an active process

If you’ve ever sat among individuals conversing in a foreign tongue, you’ll be familiar with the uncomfortable sense that you should be participating. You feel you are not genuinely contributing to the discourse if you remain silent. But by doing this, you mistake a silent process for a passive process.

To listen successfully, we must overcome the belief that we are “doing nothing.” Using active listening techniques is one method to remind yourself and others that even when you are not speaking, you are still engaged in effective communication.

Like as:

  • Establish eye contact;
  • Lean a little forward to demonstrate interest;
  • Make nodding and agreeing on noises when you agree;
  • Avoid appearing preoccupied with fidgeting, using your phone, or gazing off into space.

The silent phase is golden

When learning the Spanish language, children often go through a “silent period” where they are mute. Adults often don’t have any silent periods. However, some quiet listening time can be beneficial.

The act of speaking itself might be intimidating. As a novice speaker, you are too focused on what to say next to acknowledge what the other person has genuinely told. You can listen more effectively if you permit yourself to be silent. If you can, try to speak, but don’t force it.

The brain acts as a foreign language goldfish

Would it surprise you to learn that your short-term memory is significantly shorter while speaking a foreign language? When you consider it, it makes logic. How often do you mishear what someone says to you in their native tongue?

A crucial first step in fixing this problem is listening. But why is this taking place? When we hear someone talk, our brain starts to process the information by breaking it into manageable chunks to store it in our short-term memory.

We find it challenging to adapt to the “segmentation rules” of a foreign language when speaking it. All of the words must be kept in our short-term memory independently. Hearing helps us become accustomed to the segmentation rules, which is why it is so important to do so when learning a foreign language.

It will improve not only your understanding but also your ability to communicate in the target language. The best strategy to acquire segmentation rules is to practice appropriate listening habits frequently because learning segmentation rules is typically an unconscious process.

Our listening strategies are inverted

our listening strategies are inverted in learning spanish

How did you learn to listen if you did study a language in school? I still remember taking a listening test that required us to listen to a recording and then translate what we had heard. Details determined whether an assignment was successful or unsuccessful. For instance, you would lose points if you misspelled a word.

Language experts use the term “bottom-up listening” to characterize this technique. Bottom-up listening is a legitimate teaching strategy. Sadly, it is not a comprehensive listening technique in everyday circumstances.

As people communicate in the real world, you cannot devote all of your listening efforts to focusing on precise grammar. They’ll keep talking, and you won’t understand a word. On the other hand, top-down listening is a valuable technique to increase comprehension of what is being stated.

Concepts are used in top-down listening techniques. It merely indicates that you do some preliminary research on the speech subject.

Here are a few concepts:

  • Read the script if you’re going to a Spanish-language play or movie;
  • Do some research on the issue before a speech;
  • Try reading about or making predictions about an audio passage before listening to it.

Your brain will learn to concentrate on ideas rather than specific words as a result of this.

The general idea is only half the story

Last but not least, when listening in a different language, we frequently forget to assess our comprehension. Frequently, we “get the gist” of what was stated. But sometimes, we don’t comprehend things as well as we believe. Try these quick, easy exercises to demonstrate that you comprehended what was said:

  • Draw something;
  • Try to answer the questions you ask yourself;
  • Give a summary;
  • Indicate what could occur next in the “narrative”;
  • To have a fictitious dialogue with the narrator, press the “talkback” button.

Listening ability is a must in learning a language

As you can see, the ability to listen actively is a lifelong one. Are you prepared to hone your target language listening abilities? Remember to employ active listening techniques; you’ll be astounded by the difference once you’ve finished the exercises and can assess how much you’ve learned!

Continue to translate in your mind. Learn Spanish now with the help of the above tips.

Related Posts

What is the best genealogy software?

Let’s find out how to choose the best genealogy software! Best genealogy software Genealogy is the process of tracking your family tree. Genealogy software can

Most common Spanish words

In this article, we will provide common Spanish words, their English translation and example of their use in context. So let’s get started! Common Spanish

Learn Spanish with PDF resources

Do you know that you can learn Spanish with PDF resources? In this article, we will explore the advantages of using PDF resources to learn

Spanish song: advanced level

We’ve prepared a list of some of the most popular Spanish song that are appropriate to your level. So put on your headphones and get ready

How to say “friends” in Spanish

Learn how to say “friends” in Spanish and other words to describe friends or relationships with friends. Also, discover common phrases and expressions related to

Spanish songs: intermediate level

We’ve prepared a list of some of the most popular Spanish songs that are appropriate to your level. Check this out! Spanish songs Spanish-language music

Learn the Spanish numbers 1-10

Do you want to learn Spanish numbers? You’ve come to the right place. Let’s get ready to learn the Spanish numbers 1-10! Learn the Spanish

Jokes about Spanish

In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the best jokes about Spanish and Spanish culture. Let’s get satarted! Jokes about Spanish Welcome to our

News in Spanish: free resources

Staying informed about current events is important for staying connected to the world. It helps us understand the issues shaping our communities and the globe

Funniest Spanish jokes

¡Hola! You’re in for a treat if you love to laugh and speak Spanish. We’ve compiled a list of the funniest Spanish jokes that will

How to say happy new year in Spanish

¡Feliz año nuevo! As the new year begins, it’s a great opportunity to learn how to say “happy new year” in Spanish, a language spoken

How to say Merry Christmas in Spanish

¡Feliz Navidad! Suppose you plan to celebrate Christmas in a Spanish-speaking country or with Spanish-speaking friends and family. In that case, it’s important to know

Best Spanish proverbs

This article will explore the best Spanish proverbs and their meanings. Let’s get started! Spanish proverbs Proverbs are a treasure trove of wisdom and cultural

Quotes in Spain by famous people

In today’s post, you’ll learn some famous quotes in Spain by famous people. Quotes in Spain Spain has a rich cultural history and has produced

Funny Spanish jokes

¡Hola! Are you looking for a good laugh? Look no further! In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the funniest Spanish jokes

Famous Spanish phrases

In this article, we will explore some of the most famous Spanish phrases and their meanings, providing insight into the language and culture of Spain.

How to say in Spanish

You’ll discover some practical Spanish phrases for everyday discussions in today’s post. How to say some phrases in Spanish The following salutations and expressions will

How to say Happy Easter in Spanish

If you are planning to celebrate Easter with Spanish-speaking friends or family, then learning how to say “Happy Easter” in Spanish is a must skill.

How to become a Spanish citizen

In this article, we will guide you through the steps you need to take to become a Spanish citizen. Let’s get started! Become a Spanish

How to say yes in Spanish

¡Hola! This article will explore different ways to say “yes” in Spanish. Whether you are a beginner learning the language or just looking to expand

How to say delicious in Spanish

Suppose you’re a foodie or love trying new things. In that case, it’s always helpful to know how to express your enjoyment of something in

Spanish comprehensible input

If you have experienced a learning language block, you might want to find better techniques. Learn the Spanish comprehensible input in this blog post. Spanish comprehensible input

The best Spanish jokes

In this blog post, you’ll find the best Spanish jokes. Let’s get started! Best Spanish jokes Spanish jokes are a great way to practice speaking

How does Spanish answer the phone?

How does Spanish answer the phone? In today’s post, you’ll learn all about how Spanish answer the phone. Let’s find out! How does Spanish answer

24Free Spanish lessons

If you want to take free Spanish lessons, check out this blog post! Free Spanish lessons Learning Spanish can open up a world of opportunity.

Spanish vocabulary

Learn a few basic Spanish vocabularies and how to say hello and goodbye in Spanish and introduce yourself. Let’s get going! Greetings in Spanish The

Spanish learning resources

In this blog post, we’re going to talk about different study plans to study Spanish with Spanish learning resources. Learning a new language can be

Some facts about the Spanish mafia

Let’s discover some facts about the Spanish mafia. Facts about the Spanish mafia The Spanish mafia is one of the most active and widespread criminal

What is the population of Spain?

Have you ever wondered what is the population of Spain? Discover more about the country’s demographics and the largest cities in Spain. Population of Spain

How to say good luck in Spanish

Read this blog to learn more about how to say good luck in Spanish. Say good luck in Spanish Learning new languages can be a

How to say Hello in Spanish

How to say hello in Spanish? Here’s a guide on picking the appropriate Spanish greetings! How to say hello in Spanish? Why learn Spanish greetings Regardless

Spanish sayings

These Spanish sayings are a great way to explore the language and culture of a Spanish country and practice Spanish. Make sure to read this

8 Best podcasts to learn Spanish

Are you looking for an easy way to learn Spanish? These 8 best podcasts to learn Spanish is the easiest way to start learning a

Spanish Riddles

If you know a little Spanish, learning some Spanish riddles and playing with a Spanish-speaking friend are fantastic ways to practice. Learning Spanish riddles 1.

Spanish quotes by famous Spanish

In today’s post, you’ll learn some Spanish quotes by famous Spanish. Share your feelings with your loved ones with these Spanish quotes! Spanish quotes by

Spanish quotes about friendship

Share your feelings with your best friends with these Spanish quotes! Spanish quotes Friendship is a powerful bond shared between two people and has been

Best Spanish quotes

Share your feelings with your loved ones with these best Spanish quotes! Best Spanish quotes Those who know Spanish well say it is one of

Free Spanish lessons

You may learn how to learn Spanish for free by reading this post. We’ll discuss free audio and video classes in Spanish. Let’s get going!

Online Spanish lessons

If you want to speak fluent Spanish and enjoy learning it simultaneously,I’m going to show you the best online Spanish lessons, follow these easy tips.

Best Spanish motorcycles: the top 10

When learning Spanish culture, you might encounter some topics about their transportation, especially about motorcycles. Here are our top 10 recommendations: Best Spanish motorcycles with

Easy Spanish songs for beginners ‍

Let’s discover some easy Spanish songs for beginners. Easy Spanish Songs Learning a new language can be overwhelming, especially when you are just starting. That

The wonderful flowers of Spanish

In this post, we will show you some wonderful flowers of Spanish that you will surely love. Have fun! Wonderful Flowers of Spanish Spanish is

10 Best websites to learn Spanish

Discover the best websites to learn Spanish online and how you can make the most of your learning experience. Ready? Here we go! Best websites