Is reading or listening better for studying?

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    Is reading or listening better for studying? Join us as we examine the differences between them and determine the more efficient one.

    Is reading or listening better for studying?

    Learners use different approaches to studying, depending on their preferred learning style. For example, an auditory learning style means the student absorbs knowledge best by listening to lectures and instructions. With audiobooks rising in popularity, this approach is becoming prevalent among learners.

    But is listening better for studying than reading? This article dives into these two study approaches to give you an answer to this question.

    The science behind learning

    Did you know that our brain likes it when we use both our eyes and ears to learn? Studies show that when we see and hear something at the same time, we remember it better.

    When we read, we use our eyes to look at words. Our brain then thinks about these words and saves them in our memory. Reading is great because we can go at our own pace. We can stop and think about what we just read. That’s why many experts and futurists say we should keep improving our reading skills, especially with a new year coming up full of new things to learn.

    Listening is a bit different. We use our ears to hear words. Our brain listens to how these words sound, like if someone’s voice is happy or sad. This can help us understand the message even better.

    So, when we both read and listen, our brain gets to work in different ways. This helps us remember things more easily. Cool, right?

    Different learning styles

    It is important to note that individuals have different learning styles. Some people are visual learners, while others are auditory learners. Visual learners tend to understand and remember information better when they can see it, such as through reading. They may benefit from visual aids, diagrams, and charts to enhance their learning experience.

    Auditory learners, on the other hand, prefer to listen and process information through sound. They may find it helpful to listen to lectures, podcasts, or engage in discussions to absorb and understand new concepts.

    There are also kinesthetic learners who learn best through hands-on experiences. They thrive in interactive environments where they can touch, feel, and manipulate objects to grasp new information.

    Understanding your own learning style can help you tailor your study methods to maximize your learning potential. This is where study books tailored to different learning styles can be invaluable.

    First, think about how much we can learn and know. From the time we’re babies, we start learning about the world. We don’t just learn in school. We learn all the time! Maybe you’re trying a new sport, picking up a hobby, or just wondering about something. Our brains keep taking in new things, connecting ideas, and saving them for later.

    In life, there are so many ways to learn. We can read books, check out articles, listen to podcasts, or hear someone give a talk. Every time we do one of these things, we learn more. It shapes how we see the world and what we do.

    Learning isn’t just something that happens. We have to be a part of it. This means asking questions, looking for answers, and sometimes thinking differently than before. We should be curious and open to new things.

    So, the next time you’re deep into a book or listening to someone talk about a cool topic, remember how awesome it is to learn. Enjoy every bit of new information and let your love for learning take you on new adventures.

    Reading vs. listening – which is better?

    Some claim that the best study method depends on the student’s personal preferences and, in particular, their preferred learning style.

    However, some universal facts about these two approaches dictate their study effectiveness. Also, researchers have found that students don’t necessarily retain information better by sticking to their preferred learning style.

    According to University of California professor Matthew Traxler, the brain processes information in one general way, regardless of whether the person is reading or listening. However, the complexity of the topic affects brain activity and, thus, the person’s comprehension.

    Listening to audiobooks instead of reading physical books is more effortless and convenient. It is by far a better choice for reading materials that aren’t exceptionally complex. Ordinarily, such materials demand a reading approach, requiring the learner to put in more effort and focus on that single activity.

    In addition, researchers have found that reading delivers information faster than listening. An average reading speed for an adult is between 250 and 300 words per minute. By contrast, the average speaking speed usually doesn’t exceed 160 words per minute.

    However, most text to speech and audiobook platforms allow listeners to speed up the audio to increase their listening speed. This gives them a unique opportunity to go over their reading materials faster while maintaining efficient listening comprehension.

    Of course, both of these study approaches also have their downsides.

    While listening to an audio recording, the learner must use real-time comprehension skills to interpret the information they’re receiving. Taking notes and using transcription services can help them get used to this approach faster.

    On the other hand, reading a written text comes with many visual challenges that particularly affect students with learning disabilities like dyslexia or visual impairment. For students who’ve had issues decoding words from an early age, listening is often the best option for efficient studying.

    Differences and similarities between reading and listening

    Reading and listening don’t share any similarities apart from having an almost exact effect on the human brain. Whether you’re listening to a book or reading it, the same cognitive processes are happening in the brain.

    However, this doesn’t mean that both activities involve the same hemispheres. In fact, these activities activate different parts of the brain, which is one of the most significant differences between them.

    Listening activates both hemispheres since you must simultaneously process speech and its meaning. That’s why processing reading while listening to music is possible but listening to an audiobook while reading another source of material isn’t. Reading involves the left side of the brain only.

    Since the brain works harder to process new information when reading, this approach leads to better retention. Other benefits of reading include:

    • The ability to underline or highlight sentences
    • The possibility of going back and forth between the pages simultaneously
    • Better focus on complex subjects
    • Improved reading comprehension

    When it comes to learning by listening, the main benefits include the folllowing:

    • Comprehending new material better
    • Improving listening skills
    • Expanding vocabulary
    • Improving pronunciation, especially with foreign language learning
    • Enhancing the ability to articulate ideas
    • Studying on the go
    • Multitasking with less complex subjects

    What do the neuroscientists say?

    According to neuroscientists, reading requires higher-level cognitive processing that integrates written information and language comprehension. Reading consistently improves concentration and critical thinking skills while strengthening brain network connectivity.

    On the other hand, listening to audiobooks can lead to developing deeper empathy. Instead of simply reading words on a page, you comprehend the emotions behind them thanks to the narrator’s voice. Listening to a compelling storyteller will engage the brain’s emotional circuits, allowing you to process the narrative better and enjoy the material more.

    Listening also has a social component since there’s a voice between the listener and the audiobook. The narrator’s voice allows the reader to identify with the characters and develop affection toward them.

    Study more efficiently with Speechify

    Both reading and listening have specific benefits when it comes to studying. For the most part, students choose the reading approach when dealing with incredibly complex topics that require their undivided attention. Luckily, these topics don’t appear that frequently, so students can turn to listening for the majority of their studies.

    The good news is that your study materials don’t have to be available as audiobooks for you to use the listening approach to studying. You can make your own audio study materials using text to speech software.

    As the name suggests, text to speech (TTS) software converts text into spoken words. Speechify stands out as one of the best TTS tools for students. Besides digital materials, Speechify allows you to convert physical study materials and notes into audio files and listen to them on the go. This is made possible by built-in optical character recognition (OCR) functionality.

    You can also experience the best of both reading and listening to your course materials because Speechify highlights the text as the platform reads it aloud, allowing you to follow along at an efficient and convenient pace.

    Speechify is available across all major platforms, allowing you to study whenever and wherever you feel the most productive.

    Try out Speechify today and discover the many features that can make studying easier.

    FAQ

    Which is more important, listening or reading?

    Reading and listening are equally important for developing cognitive and literacy skills. When it comes to studying, which approach is more important depends on the material being consumed.

    Is reading and listening better than just reading?

    Listening to an audiobook while simultaneously reading its transcript is far more effective for comprehension and retention than just reading the material. Thankfully, Speechify allows you to do just that, as described in the article above.

    What is the best way to study?

    There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the best way to study. The bottom line is that the material’s form and complexity dictate the best approach to learning it efficiently.

    Is listening or reading easier?

    Listening is easier, less stressful, and less straining than reading. It’s also more convenient and accessible.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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