AskDefine | Define listening

Dictionary Definition

listening adj : attending to or alert for sound; "be wary of listening ears"; "government-maintained listening posts" n : the act of hearing attentively; "you can learn a lot by just listening"; "they make good music--you should give them a hearing" [syn: hearing]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Of something that listens, or is used in order to listen.
    Any listening person can tell she's lying.
    He could hear better when he used his listening device.


  1. Action of the verb to listen
    You can learn a lot from grandparents by listening.


  1. present participle of listen

Extensive Definition

Hearing (or audition) is one of the traditional five senses. It is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations via an organ such as the ear. The inability to hear is called deafness.
In humans and other vertebrates, hearing is performed primarily by the auditory system: vibrations are detected by the ear and transduced into nerve impulses that are perceived by the brain. Like touch, audition requires sensitivity to the movement of molecules in the world outside the organism. Both hearing and touch are types of mechanosensation.

Hearing tests

Hearing can be measured by behavioral tests using an audiometer. Electrophysiological tests of hearing can provide accurate measurements of hearing thresholds even in unconscious subjects. Such tests include auditory brainstem evoked potentials (ABR), otoacoustic emissions (OAE) and electrocochleography (EchoG). Technical advances in these tests have allowed hearing screening for infants to become widespread.

Hearing underwater

Hearing threshold and the ability to localize sound sources are reduced underwater, in which the speed of sound is faster than in air. Underwater hearing is by bone conduction, and localization of sound appears to depend on differences in amplitude detected by bone conduction.

Hearing in animals

Not all sounds are normally audible to all animals. Each species has a range of normal hearing for both loudness (amplitude) and pitch (frequency). Many animals use sound to communicate with each other, and hearing in these species is particularly important for survival and reproduction. In species that use sound as a primary means of communication, hearing is typically most acute for the range of pitches produced in calls and speech.
Frequencies capable of being heard by humans are called audio or sonic. The range is typically considered to be between 15Hz and 20,000Hz. Frequencies higher than audio are referred to as ultrasonic, while frequencies below audio are referred to as infrasonic. Some bats use ultrasound for echo location while in flight. Dogs are able to hear ultrasound, which is the principle of 'silent' dog whistles. Snakes sense infrasound through their bellies, and whales, giraffes and elephants use it for communication.


See also

listening in Bengali: শ্রবণ
listening in Catalan: Oïda
listening in Czech: Sluch
listening in Danish: Høresans
listening in German: Auditive Wahrnehmung
listening in Spanish: Audición
listening in Esperanto: Aŭdo
listening in Basque: Entzumen
listening in French: Ouïe
listening in Indonesian: Pendengaran
listening in Korean: 청각
listening in Hebrew: שמיעה
listening in Lithuanian: Klausa
listening in Dutch: Horen
listening in Japanese: 聴覚
listening in Polish: Słuch
listening in Portuguese: Audição
listening in Romanian: Auz
listening in Russian: Слух
listening in Simple English: Hearing
listening in Slovak: Sluch
listening in Finnish: Kuuloaisti
listening in Swedish: Hörsel
listening in Thai: การได้ยิน
listening in Võro: Kuuldminõ
listening in Chinese: 听觉

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

all ears, attention, attentive, audibility, audience, audition, aural examination, aural sense, auscultation, bugging, conference, eager attention, ear, eavesdropping, electronic surveillance, examination by ear, favorable attention, hearing, heeding, hushed attention, interview, listening in, open-eared, rapt attention, sense of hearing, tryout, wiretapping
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