Are We Losing the Art of Listening?


Our ears are the sound detection systems of our bodies. We as human beings get to hear the birds chirp, the leaves rustle and the voices of the people around us, but having ears is not just about hearing. Ears together with our thought process create the art of listening. It is not enough to pick up sound, we must be able to analyze in order to send feedback. Sadly, due to advances in technology, tradition loss and self-centeredness, the art of listening is less common than it was before.

Much of this depreciation can be attributed to us living in a world of technology. Listening is very challenging to teach and it’s been taken out of the curriculum at the K-through-12 level systematically throughout the last couple of decades. Considering the incorporation of technology into school systems such as free iPads and laptops for homework and students being able to listen to music while they study in school, we can agree that active listening is not being encouraged. This is not just a problem in the education system but it is all around us. Our heads are planted into our phones and computers that the outside world almost becomes nonexistent. Be it video games, videos, watching television or keeping up with our friends on social media, we are distracted the majority of the day. We create our own world that no one else can enter but how do we expect to be able to communicate effectively with this attitude? Something has to change.

Growing up our grandparents seemed to have endless tales to tell. The way they told it may not have been how it really happened but they took pride in sharing their experiences. Back then, the art of storytelling was prevalent. People would gather around circles and listen to stories that were most times make-believe but were interesting enough to capture everyone’s attention. These stories would be passed down through generations but for some reason we are not interested in listening to the hidden life lessons in these tales.

Often times, the people around us are facing challenges in their daily lives and all they need is someone they can talk to.  This highlights the issue of our society not having listening abilities. We might hear what someone has to say but we are so caught up in ourselves that we push everyone else out. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply so even if we do tell someone they can talk to us, we don’t always know what to say.  In doing so we lose touch with our ability to communicate. We are not able to be a shoulder for someone to lean on. If we listened instead of just hearing, we would get in touch with our feelings and thoughts and we would be able to comfort someone else.

In losing the art of listening we lose the ability to communicate effectively. The cycles within our society runs on our ability to interact with each other, sharing ideas, opinions and experiences. We should pay more attention to the world around us so that we can keep a sense of connection in the atmosphere. If we each shut out everyone else and focus on the what we have on our digital screens, we will eventually lose the art of listening.