The Audio Struggle of a Reader

Being Visual is Awesome …

In many scenarios, especially the western school system, visual learners are at an advantage. Even at the high school level, students are expected to do a significant amount of readings on their own that the teacher will only briefly discuss in class. Being a visual learner, this was awesome for me. I’ve also always been an avid reader, with the notable exception of my years in university, which again, being a visual learner was a huge advantage I am super thankful for.


Enter podcasts and audiobooks. They are a super time efficient way to enjoy stories and absorb information because you can listen to them while you do anything! Cook, clean, workout listening to something useful! Except I can’t.

… Until It’s Not

Yesterday I tried listening to the first episode of Serial while running on a treadmill staring at a blank wall and door, but the very fact I was running at a measly 4.5 mph and there was someone next to me also running was enough of a distraction that I could not focus. Similarly, I’ve tried listening along while cooking and it’s the same story.


I remember as a child finding out that my big sister was so cool she could listen to music and read at the same time. I can still barely do that. Normally a couple minutes into reading I just opt to turning the music off because silence is my best bookish friend.

To date, the only time I’ve successfully listened to any book or story while not missing anything, was reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld while laying in bed staring at the ceiling or closing my eyes. I only did it because I couldn’t afford the print book and Audible does the cool free first book thing.

I desperately want to be able to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, so I’ve been trying to listen to them more often to improve my auditory skills but I’m not sure it’s actually helping. I guess there’s a reason I’m a bibliophile and not an audiophile.


How do you fair with audiobooks and podcasts?

Do you have any tips?

3 thoughts on “The Audio Struggle of a Reader

  1. I LOVE THEM. But I totally think it’s okay if they don’t work for you?? Like we shouldn’t have to force ourselves to absorb books on a medium that doesn’t work for us, right?! I grew up with my mum reading outloud to me, so I kind of just naturally looove it and audio books help me get a TON of reading done while I do other stuff. Mostly walking though? And origami? Not cooking or something that requires a lot of attention. My brain just DOESN’T HANDLE IT WELL. (omg kudos to your sister for music/reading at the same time…I could not do that. XD)
    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!


  2. I did a short course on presentation skills, and as part of it they taught us that people learn differently. There are audio, visual, and kinaesthetic learners. What most people don’t know is that each of us is not simply one or the other; but rather we learn in 3 separate stages: input, process, and output. For example, I remember things better when I see/watch them, but I process my thoughts by talking to myself, and then it’s really etched in my brain once done something with my hands, like write it down, or make whatever I’ve learnt. Although we all have our preferred way of learning, it’s good to train all different ways of learning, as it improves how quickly we learn as well as how well we remember things 🙂
    Because I have audio processing, background noise and music can really distract me too, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start learning to overcome it, right?
    (Sorry for the essay comment though)


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