This question is a popular one in our family. I find myself asking it to my kids several times a day when I ask them to do something and I'm ignored. Sometimes I say it once softly then louder and louder as if I'm doing a hearing test or something. Sometimes I try different voices - does a manly voice make it more effective? An old Lady voice? A ghostly voice? It's hard to say what works the best. It depends on the day and circumstance I think. Sometimes I wonder if my kids really do have hearing problems, but testing has shown otherwise.
So the conclusion I finally came to was that they're kids. Kids sometimes don't listen.
Then one day not too long ago I was busy doing something while Jesse Bear was chattering in the background and I heard a little voice say, "Mom, are you listening?" It startled me and my mind jumped back from whatever I was thinking back into reality and I realized that no, I wasn't listening. Later I thought back to all of the many times that I haven't really listened to them. When I try to do too many things at once or spread myself too thin. Sometimes I may actually be listening but doing something else and to them, that's still not listening.
So I guess my conclusion was wrong. Listening is something that we all need to work on. Listening with our bodies as well as our ears. As good as we may think we are at it, there's always room for improvement.