What Is Auditory Learning Style? Definition and Strategies

By Indeed Editorial Team

September 16, 2021

People tend to favor one of three particular learning styles: visual, kinesthetic or auditory. In the case of the auditory learning style, a person learns best through listening and talking, often using conversation, music and video to interface with information. In this article, we discuss what the auditory learning style is, weigh the benefits of this type of learning style and present the most effective auditory learning strategies to help you excel in your profession.

What is an auditory learning style?

Auditory learning is a style of learning in which an individual learns most efficiently through hearing and listening. Auditory learners retain information better when it is delivered through sound or speech rather than written form. This type of learning is one of the three different styles that are recognized by the Fleming VAK model of learning.

A person who is an auditory learner relies on speaking and listening as their primary way of learning. Many auditory learners may experience challenges when instructions or information are given in written form but can clearly understand them when the information is auditory. These individuals are typically good listeners and can easily remember information that has been spoken. For example, an auditory learner may remember everything that was said during a work meeting but has a hard time recalling the information that was outlined in a work report.

Common characteristics of an auditory learner include:

  • Can easily recall spoken information

  • Good speaking skills

  • Strong listening skills

  • Typically excel at oral exams

  • Good storytelling skills

  • Benefits the most from reading aloud

  • Easily distracted by background noises

  • Works best on a conversational basis

  • Talented at explaining ideas verbally

Individuals who are auditory learners typically excel in professional positions that regularly incorporate discussion and require active listening. A few of the most popular jobs best suited for people with an auditory learning style include guidance counselors, customer service professionals, attorneys, judges and sound engineers.

Read more: Learning Styles for Career Development

Auditory learning style strategies

There are several strategies that an auditory learner can implement to improve their overall learning experience in the workplace. The following are strategies you can use if you are an auditory learner:

  • Play background music: Many auditory learners work best when there is background noise as opposed to silence. Background noise, such as music, can help auditory learners concentrate more easily and be more productive. You could listen to headphones while at work, or if you work in a private office or at home you could play light music or white noise in the background.

  • Ask for verbal direction: Auditory learners typically understand directions best when they are spoken. If you work in an environment that relies heavily on email to communicate, consider asking your manager or team members to meet with you occasionally to verbally go over what is expected for projects assigned to you. This can ensure you fully understand your duties and help prevent confusion or challenges that may arise from misinterpretation or misunderstanding.

  • Participate in group discussions: Individuals who are auditory learners often benefit greatly from group discussions within the workplace. Regularly scheduling in-person meetings and discussions with your team or managers is a good strategy if you are an auditory learner.

  • Record meetings: If you are an auditory learner and have an important meeting and want to ensure that you don't miss anything, you could record the meeting to listen to again later.

  • Read aloud: While this strategy may not be appropriate in all work environments, for auditory learners who work in a private area reading aloud may prove beneficial when trying to retain information.

  • Talk through problems: When problems or situations that need to be solved are presented in the workplace, talking through these scenarios is the best way for an auditory learner to digest information and come up with a solution. You could talk through a problem with a coworker, manager or other superior or even speak with a trusted friend or mentor about the work situation.

The more an auditory learner implements strategies specific to auditory learning into their daily work life, the more successful and productive they will be at work. Each person may benefit from different strategies, so it's important to try multiple strategies to determine which ones work best for you.

Related: Collaboration Skills: Definition and Examples

Auditory learning style benefits

There are several benefits that can come from being an auditory learner. Common benefits that auditory learners may enjoy include:

  • Reduced need for seeing or reading information to learn or retain it

  • Limited situations in which there is no auditory stimulus to use to learn

  • Higher likelihood of retaining information compared to other types of learning styles

  • Increased ability to multi-task

  • Better communication skills due to the preference to verbally discuss topics and issues

Auditory learning style disadvantages

While there are certainly benefits that come with an auditory style of learning, there are also a few disadvantages that can arise from this learning style. Being aware of these potential downfalls of auditory learning can help you prevent them from impacting your productivity and success at work. Common disadvantages of this learning style to keep in mind include:

  • More susceptible to distractions in the workplace, especially when there are excess noises in the environment

  • Shorter attention span, especially when the task involves reading or writing

  • More likely to cause disruptions in the work area such as humming or singing to oneself or starting conversations with others while they are working

  • Decreased chance of retaining information if it is not expressed in an auditory form

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