Hearing Aids

Hearing vs. Listening: What’s the Difference?

You might be wondering what the difference is between hearing and listening. Is there a difference? There is a big difference between hearing and listening, including how they are performed, the information they give us, and how they are measured. But what exactly are those differences? Let’s first take a look at what hearing and listening are and then how they are different.

What is Hearing?

Hearing is the physiological processing of sounds and involves perceiving or simply detecting sound. It doesn’t necessarily mean you understand what you’re hearing, but the simple act of your ears picking up the sound is hearing. To measure hearing, an audiogram is used. It tests loudness versus pitch.

Hearing is not something that can be learned. It’s a passive, involuntary process and requires no effort. Even if you can’t detect what someone is saying, the basic act of hearing their voice is what hearing is. When you hear background music in a movie, you may not hear every note or even notice that you’re picking up the sound, but you still hear it.

What is Listening?

Listening, on the other hand, involves receiving and comprehension, and can be categorized into passive or active listening. Instead of simply hearing sounds, listening requires perceiving what is being said, paying attention to it, and giving consideration to what is being said or the sound that’s being made so you can respond to it.

Because listening is more complicated, it can be harder to assess and measure. Your ability to listen depends on your ability to hear, think, and remember. It also depends on your psychological well-being, the amount of background noise, your cognitive ability, and your vocabulary skills.

Listening requires more than just your ears. It requires your ears and your brain and, unlike hearing, is a skill you can learn. You can learn to listen more effectively through training and by using specific hearing equipment like hearing aids.

Learning to listen effectively is often the essence of aural rehabilitation programs for children and adults with auditory processing disorders.

What is the Difference Between Hearing and Listening?

The main difference between hearing and listening is how they are performed. Hearing is completely involuntary and requires doing absolutely nothing, while listening, even passive listening, requires a voluntary action of using your brain to understand what is being said or what the noise is.

Listening requires effort to focus and engage with what’s being said or what’s going on around you. But, because it’s involuntary, hearing requires no effort whatsoever. Your body does it for you.

At Hearing Doctors of New Jersey, when you come in with hearing loss, we want to make sure we are treating more than just your hearing. With our comprehensive exams, we look at all the factors that could be leading to your hearing loss and how it’s affecting your brain and cognitive function. From there, we can find the right advanced hearing technology that will have you hearing everything crystal clear and enable you to actively listen to those around you.

Schedule a Consultation

Are you struggling with listening and comprehending your loved ones? Or perhaps you have trouble hearing the television unless you turn it up to max volume? Whatever your hearing concern is, our audiologists at Hearing Doctors of New Jersey are here to help you. Take the first step and schedule a consultation today! Call our Livingston, NJ office at 973-577-4100 or use our online contact form.

Hearing Loss

Does Hearing Loss Impact Cognition?

Did you know there is a connection between hearing loss and how well your brain works? It’s true. Multiple studies have been done showing a relationship between hearing loss and cognitive ability.

Hearing loss can be frustrating as it is, but imagine that on top of losing some of your brain function or even developing dementia. It can be a struggle for so many people, but there is help available at Hearing Doctors of New Jersey.

The Relationship Between Hearing Loss and Cognition

To date, there have been over 100 studies that have shown a correlation between hearing loss and cognitive impairment. In one John Hopkins study, it was shown that mild hearing loss actually doubled the risk for dementia, and moderate hearing loss tripled the risk. Another study found that amplification (like your find with hearing aids) could reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.

What is the reason behind this relationship? Those struggling with hearing loss put more demands on their brains and their cognitive abilities to understand the world around them. This increase in demand on the brain can eventually lead to issues with cognitive ability and can increase the risk for dementia.

Additionally, the function of the hearing center in the brain begins to atrophy or shrink as it’s not as stimulated as much as it once was.

On top of that, when you have hearing loss, you tend to avoid social situations. This can lead to social isolation and loneliness, which can also negatively affect your cognitive abilities.

More specifically, a 2013 study reported that hearing loss can result in both a cognitive and psycho-social decline due to increased demand on the brain, which can result in mental fatigue. It can also lead to less focus, worse attention span, and poor memory. Hearing loss can negatively affect your whole cognitive system.

Another study in 2020 found that of the twelve modifiable risk factors for dementia they discovered, untreated hearing loss was the most significant. A more recent 2023 study found that because of this connection between untreated hearing loss and cognition impairment, there was an urgent need to address hearing loss in order to more effectively address cognitive decline.

Can Hearing Aids Help?

At Hearing Doctors of New Jersey, we understand the connection between hearing loss and cognition, and it’s one of the many reasons why we work to ensure everyone has the right hearing aids for their cognitive needs.

Hearing loss is the top modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline, and because of that, it could not be more important to receive a customized treatment program that focuses on the relationship between your cognition and your ability to hear. By decreasing your struggle to hear, you also decrease the risk of dementia and other cognitive issues.

At Hearing Doctors of New Jersey, we offer our proprietary H.E.A.R MethodTM Treatment Program to ensure you no longer struggle with your hearing and, in turn, lower your risk of cognitive decline. We’ll customize a treatment program for your symptoms and ensure you never say “what” again – guaranteed.  

Schedule A Consultation

Are you ready to finally address your hearing loss? Whether you’re young and think you can’t possibly be struggling with hearing loss or you’re older and think it’s a natural part of aging, schedule a consultation with Hearing Doctors of New Jersey today. Hearing loss can affect anyone, and with a comprehensive hearing exam, we can ensure you’re able to hear everything around you.

Call our Livingston, NJ office today at 973-577-4100 or use our online contact form.