Old English heran (Anglian), (ge)hieran, hyran (West Saxon) "to hear, perceive by the ear, listen (to), obey, follow; accede to, grant; judge," from Proto-Germanic *hausejanan (source also of Old Norse heyra, Old Frisian hera, hora, Dutch horen, German hören, Gothic hausjan "to hear"), from PIE root *kous- "to hear" (source also of Greek koein "to mark, perceive, hear;" see acoustic). The shift from *-s- to -r- is a regular feature in some Germanic languages. For the vowels, see head (n.).
Spelling distinction between hear and here developed 1200-1550. Meaning "be told, learn by report" is from early 14c. Old English also had the excellent adjective hiersum "ready to hear, obedient," literally "hear-some" with suffix from handsome, etc. Hear, hear! (1680s) originally was imperative, an exclamation to call attention to a speaker's words ("hear him!"); now a general cheer of approval. To not hear of "have nothing to do with" is from 1754.