Hearing, in short, is easy. Listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.
Luckily, we can train our listening just as with any other skill. Listen to your significant other’s voice — not only to the words, which after a few years may repeat, but to the sounds under them, the emotions carried in the harmonics. You may save yourself a couple of fights.
“You never listen” is not just the complaint of a problematic relationship, it has also become an epidemic in a world that is exchanging convenience for content, speed for meaning. The richness of life doesn’t lie in the loudness and the beat, but in the timbres and the variations that you can discern if you simply pay attention.
Seth S. Horowitz is an auditory neuroscientist at Brown University and the author of “The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/opinion/sunday/why-listening-is-so-much-more-than-hearing.html?_r=2&