Listening: Part I

Listening is something that everyone spends a lot of time doing. Listening is actually the act of closely paying attention to and comprehending what one hears. The act of listening is different from hearing. Hearing is just the sounds that the ear picks up in everyday life while listening is paying attention to those sounds, such as speech, and making sense of them.

In this post, we will look different types of listening.

Types of Listening

According to Lucas (2015), there are at least four types of listening and they include

  • Empathic
  • Appreciative
  • Comprehensive
  • Critical

Empathic Listening

Empathic listening is listening to provide emotional support for the speaker. An example would be a mother listening to an upset child or a teacher listening to a student who is having a difficult time. The purpose of this type of listening is to provide attention for the purpose of soothing the individual.

Appreciative Listening

Appreciative listening is the type of listening we do for enjoyment. Examples of this are when a person listens to music or perhaps a talk show. The motivation is the pleasure.

Comprehensive Listening

Comprehensive listening has as its goal the desire to understand what the speaker is saying. For example, a student listening to a lecture or child listening to directions from a parent. This is not for entertainment as appreciative listening is nor is it for showing emotional support as empathic listening is.

Critical Listening

Critical listening serves the purpose of listening in order to decide whether to accept or reject the speaker’s message. For example, a child trying to explain how a plate was broken will face a parent who is listening critically. A student who is providing a reason for a late assignment will face a teacher who is listening critically.

Critical listening and critical thinking are closely related. Critical thinking is the process of assessing the soundness of evidence while analyzing the organization of the thought. As such, listening critically helps a person to think critically and vice versa.


Listening is a keep component of education. However, many people listening without knowing how or why they are listening. Understanding the different types of learning can help people to know and understand why they are listening. It is critical that people understand that different forms or listening are appropriate for different times. This will serve the purpose of not only helping the listener but also helping the speaker to be understood and appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Listening: Part I

  1. Pingback: Listening: Part I | Education and Research | S...

Leave a Reply