Hard of Listening

I used to think I overhear voices in my head, and yes, many of those words are things I would rather not overhear.  But come to think of it, I don’t actually HEAR them, but rather I LISTEN to them. Big difference.

Hearing is the involuntary perception and physical measurement of sound waves by the ear.  Unless hearing health is compromised, it just happens.  Case in point:  sounds are heard even while sleeping.

Listening is conscious and intentional.  It occurs after a sound has passed through the ear and reached the brain, where the mind will process meaning from what the ear has heard.  Case in point:  I can hear someone speaking to me, but I can choose to not pay attention to what they are saying.

There are four basic types of listeners, according to Toastmasters International™:  non-listener, passive listener, listener, and active listener.  The types vary based on the level of intent put into receiving and actively processing the meaning of the words they hear.

Listening leads to learning.  What is learned and is the learning desired or not?  Well, that’s a subject for another post.

Back to those voices in my head … my mouth isn’t speaking them, so there are no sound waves being transmitted.  Therefore, there is nothing to be heard.  What is in my head, however, are meanings I have stored in memory from words I have previously heard and processed, whether “correctly” or “incorrectly”. So now I must make a choice – will I listen to them?

I am fortunate to have almost 100 hearing ability, other than some occasional ear wax problems.  I am not hard of hearing and for that, I am grateful.  I am also grateful for free will:  I get to make choices.  So when I think I’m HEARING voices in my head, I have a choice – will I LISTEN to them?

For the positive words, yes, I will try to be an active listener.  For the not-so-positive ones, I think I will learn how to be “Hard of Listening”.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”  –  Epictetus

Daily Prompt:   Sat Jun 13 15  –  Hear No Evil

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