I have learned reading only so my reading and listening levels are drastically different. I finally started to learn speaking and listening five weeks ago but I have been quite struggling with distinguishing the different yet similar sounds while hearing.
Not only these sounds, but Chinese also have 4 different sounds on each syllable, which is practically impossible for me to locate which sound points to which character and word.
Honestly, even when I hear them many times all of these sounds sound the same, and it feels practically impossible to differentiate these sounds correctly.
Can Chinese people distinguish these sounds correctly? For example if a person says
xiàng, do Chinese correctly locate its word and accent?
Do foreigners who are fluent in Chinese understand these sounds correctly? Or do they solely rely on context to differentiate which sounds they are?
Being non-natives, how can I improve myself to differentiate them properly?