7 pages
Word Count
1318 words
Montclair State Universi
Course Code

interpretation of sounds

March 8, 2020
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An interpretation of sound
Often times in today’s society, there is confusion among the blurred lines of
listening and hearing. Most people believe that they are synonyms, when in fact
there is a major dichotomy between the two actions. Hearing is a common
occurrence that happens when you might not even be conscious of it. If you are
walking down the street, you are bombarded by a sensory overload of sights,
smells, and noises. When you hear car tires against the pavement, music, or a
loud exhaust, you are simply hearing the noises. When any disturbance occurs
and comes in contact with your eardrums, that is when sound is perceived.
Hearing is a conscious effort that requires a heightened level of alertness in order
to interpret the sound. Hearing is one of the senses a person has: “Hearing is the
process, function or power of perceiving sound”. It’s an accidental and
involuntary action, in which you are just collecting information. However,
listening requires you to analyze and interpret what you are hearing in order to
provoke a response or reaction. In the process of listening you are paying
attention to an array of various frequencies, while simultaneously attempting to
give someone your undivided attention while understanding the meaning of what
you are being told. Listening is voluntary and complex because you are processing
the information you are being given in hopes of using that information, whether it
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be a physical response to a situation or a minuscule verbal response in a
conversation. Hearing allows you to involuntarily be aware of your surroundings,
but you are not fully engrossed in the listening process. In contrast, listening
enables you to interpret, which is crucial to the process.
There is a vast array of skills required to listen effectively. After reading
“the three listening modes” by Michael Chion, we learned about a few different
ways of listening that exist. The three ways that were listed in the article are
causal, semantic and reduced listening. Causal listening is perhaps most common
and primitive method of listening, which is when you listen to something for the
sole purpose of gathering information about its cause. “When the cause is visible,
sound can provide supplementary information about it; for example, the sound
produced by an enclosed container when you tap it indicates how full it is” (Chion

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