Yes, there is a major difference between listening and hearing. Usually, when someone is speaking, we can hear what they are saying, but are we truly listening? Everyone with fully operational ears has the ability to hear, but it requires both the ear and the brain to listen.
According to the oxford dictionary hearing is: the faculty of perceiving sounds. On the other hand, listening means: (to) give one’s attention to a sound.
The major difference is that listening involves: Attention. We can easily hear sounds, but not pay them any attention. When walking down a busy street we are bombarded by a variety of sounds; however, many go unnoticed because these sounds have none of our attention.
The same applies throughout life. When people communicate with us, be it at home or work, because of various distractions, we don’t give the communicator attention. And as a result, we hear them but are not necessarily listening.
When we don’t listen, we miss out on the crucial information that is being presented to us. Being able to listen is an essential skill to have, in every facet of life. Listening is the greatest component of verbal communication. What is the point of talking if no one is listening? Listening is a means to receive instruction, gain understanding and to communicate effectively. The next time you find yourself in conversation, practice (and make a habit of) paying attention, and make a conscious effort to really hear what the person is saying. You will find that the conversation is more fruitful and rewarding for all parties involved.