Is this phrase used when someone is pretending not to understand what someone is saying and another person is saying that he does understand or "hear" what is being said?
Maybe you meet a person who has mental problems, then his mom says "ele ouve", or many other examples. We'd use that with the literal meaning...
Could this phrase be synonymous with Ele escuta? What is the difference in use in conversation?
Ouvir = simply hear, maybe also overhear. Escutar = listen to, pay attention to what's being told, pounder over, meditate.
I see. In English, we would use it for literal meaning as well as for saying someone understands, even though he appears to be ignoring...
Paulenrique gave a detailed explanation above. The simple answer is escutar = to listen, and ouvir = to hear.
"He is listening" wasn't accepted. I thought it was close enough... am I wrong?