Q: “Did you hear me?”

A: “Yeah, I heard ya.”

Hearing may be described as an involuntary process that starts with noise, vibrations, the movement of fluid in the ears and sound sent to the brain.

Does this seem like an effective way to understand the meaning of something audible? I think not. One can hear a cacophony or a giggling infant. One can hear fingernails on a chalkboard or mockingbirds singing.  These are all noises that do not require any thought to know they are there. Hearing is something that can make you laugh, cry, wince or feel scared, but it does not provoke supposition, judgment nor conclusion.

Listening is a voluntary action requiring conscious thinking.

Truly listening to someone or something such as music means absorbing the intended message. A good listener understands and remembers the message. Listening inspires understanding.

If you are really interested in something someone is saying, ask yourself, did you hear or listen to them?