Hearing vs Listening

Are you hearing or listening to your patient?

That’s an interesting question, no?

As one who is in the beginning of my PT career, I do have to say I have grown immensely in the first year of practice. I have taken a plethora of continuing education courses to learn more advanced treatments and evaluations. Being that Monday morning physical therapist, you know, the Monday after your weekend course where you learned some cool new evaluations and treatments, you are eager to apply everything you learned as soon as possible. You get through your subjective and jump straight into the objective portion. A big part of our role is to help our patient’s with their physical ailments. Our eyes and hands tend to be what guides us. Over the past year I learned that the right questions can get you to where you need to be in a more efficient manner.

So what’s the difference between hearing and listening? I came across a quote that sums it up nicely. “Hearing is through the ears, listening is through the mind.” While hearing is one of the basic senses we as humans possess, it is a passive process. You hear someone talking on the phone or to a friend. Listening requires some higher level thought process to interpret what you heard.

Now I’ve been making mention to things that are heard through our ears, however communication occurs even without someone speaking. Body language is a crucial thing to pay attention to as well.

So while we are all eager to improve our physical abilities, it is equally important to hone in our higher level listening skills. It can be a game changer to what happens during your sessions with patients.


Thank you

Stavros Vouyiouklis PT, DPT, CMPT

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