The ears do not discriminate. They intake all outside noises raw. It is not possible to ignore frequencies which could be heard.
However, the noises that are digested present a different story. The brain decides, sometimes subliminally, what is to be processed and/or stored and what is to be disposed. There are those who hear, but there is a distinction between hearing and listening. Whereas merely hearing something can be quickly disregarded and forgotten, active listening on the other hand provides long(er) term retention. There are also certain noise frequencies that cannot be heard with the human ear, but that’s a different story.
I hear, but ignore, the typing on my keyboard and the noise of my footsteps. I hear, but shrug off, the sound of the air conditioner and the heater. I hear, but quickly forget, the sneezes and coughs of my colleagues. I hear the words that my professors attempt to articulate in my Public Budgeting course. But I don’t listen. I have yet to understand the sentences they mutter nor the intentions they fail to deliver. There is no listening involved.
On the other hand, I listen to the Doppler effect of ambulances. I listen to the pigeons that often rest on the rails outside my window in the morning. I listen to the sound of good music through the words of the artist, the message(s) they are delivering, and the chords and beats which supplement (or perhaps dominate) the song. I listen to the people who exist in my life. I listen to their statements, questions, and answers. I listen to their goals, their dreams, their aspirations. I listen to their promises, broken promises, and lies.
The difference between hearing and listening is simple: one remains passive and/or ignored, while the other one is stored and retained. Hearing provides short term pleasure, while listening provides future reflections on the orchestrated sounds. Whereas hearing ceases to exist beneath the surface level, listening lives through several layers.
Differentiating between noises is not a simple dichotomy. Rather than being merely black and white, listening also exists in other dimensions. It is possible to listen to your own intuition. To your feelings. When your mind speaks, your heart is listening. It is more than black and white; add some sepia-tone and magnify.
Listen to your heart. Listen to your feelings.