What is Auditory Learning? A Comprehensive Guide

If your child possesses a good memory for song lyrics and enjoys podcasts or audiobooks, they likely exhibit characteristics of an auditory learner.

What is Auditory Learning? A Comprehensive Guide


Everybody, including children, learns uniquely. Some are visual learners who absorb knowledge through images and diagrams, while others are kinesthetic learners who prefer a hands-on approach. However, if your child possesses a good memory for song lyrics and enjoys podcasts or audiobooks, they likely exhibit characteristics of an auditory learner.

To help you better understand auditory learning and how to support your child's unique learning style, we've broken down everything you need to know about it, including signs and characteristics and auditory learning strategies that can help improve academic performance.

What is auditory learning?

Christina Merchant from HeyTutor, a leading tutoring firm, says auditory learners learn best by hearing and listening. "Compared to the different types of learners, auditory learners excel when information is presented verbally, and they can process and retain information more effectively through lectures, discussions, and audio recordings."


What is an example of an auditory learner?

Merchant says a good example of an auditory learner might be a student who remembers spoken information better than reading it silently from a book. "For instance, if a child can recall details from a story they listened to in an audiobook (or a teacher's read-aloud) but struggles to remember what they read silently, they likely have an auditory learning style preference," she explains. "Often, students who struggle with phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension are auditory learners."

young boy putting headphones on his dad iStock

What are the characteristics of auditory learning?

Lisa Speransky, founder and CEO of the Ivy Tutors Network, says that some characteristics of auditory learners include sound sensitivity, strong memory, and a preference for all things audio.

"Audio learners prefer learning through audio formats of anything: music, the radio, podcasts, and learning videos, and their special skill is telling you about them afterward," she tells Today's Parent. "They have incredible memories and an affinity for music, lyrics or poetry, and spoken words.

Because auditory learners are incredibly sensitive to sound, Speransky explains that they require a tranquil environment for effective studying. "If an auditory learner is going to study, it must be in a quiet space with very light music (play background music) or none at all, as sounds can easily distract them," she says.

What is the importance of auditory learning in teaching?


Merchant says that teachers should understand auditory learning because it enables them to modify their lesson plans and teaching strategies to accommodate their students' learning preferences. "For auditory learners, integrating spoken instructions, discussions, and oral feedback can significantly enhance their learning outcomes and ensure that a one-size-fits-all approach to education does not disadvantage them," she says.

However, Speransky says that educators should teach auditory learners to use several modalities to learn something well and thoroughly. She continues, "I like to use this technique: read it, listen to it, walk around while saying it out loud, teach it to a friend, etc."

young girl wearing headphones smiling iStock


How does auditory learning differ from the other learning styles?

No learning style is superior to the others, but auditory learning has unique qualities compared to the visual and kinesthetic styles. For instance, Merchant states that auditory learning relies heavily on hearing as the primary way to absorb information.

"While visual learners prefer diagrams, pictures, and written information, and kinesthetic learners thrive on hands-on experiences and movement, auditory learners are most effective when information is delivered through sound and speech," she says.

However, Speransky being an auditory learner doesn't mean you cannot learn by taking good notes. "Instead, it means that you may have a dominant way of learning that is a bit more natural than the other ways," says Speransky.

How can parents identify if their child is an auditory learner?


Children learn in a variety of ways, just like everyone else. Merchant recommends observing your child's learning habits to identify their learning style. "If your child enjoys listening to stories, can follow spoken instructions well, prefers to explain things out loud, and excels in group projects, they may be an auditory learner," she explains. "Auditory learners also remember details from conversations well, and, perhaps, even have a musical inclination."

Despite your child's preference for auditory learning, Dr. Wallace Panlilio II, co-author of Wisest Learners (Parent Edition): Unlock the Secrets to Your Child's Academic Success, says that flexibility and adaptability in learning strategies are still necessary. "Developing a broad range of skills across different modalities can support comprehensive learning and cognitive development," he explains.

What are some common misconceptions about auditory learning?

Artyom Zinchenko, Ph.D., says there are many myths about auditory learning, including the idea that auditory learners are solely focused on listening to understand and retain information. Another common misconception is the assumption that one learning style is superior to others and that learning styles are fixed and cannot be developed further.

"These misconceptions overlook the complexity of learning processes and the evidence challenging the efficacy of learning styles-based instruction," Zinchenko explains. "Instead, it's crucial to adopt a more nuanced understanding that appreciates the value of multimodal learning strategies and the adaptability of the human brain."

What role does social interaction play in auditory learning?

Merchant says that social interaction plays a significant role in auditory learning. She explains to Today's Parent that auditory learners benefit most from engaging in discussions, listening to different perspectives, and expressing their ideas. Merchant continues, "Such interactions solidify their learning, improve their critical thinking skills, and help them remember information."


Study partners and one-on-one tutoring can also benefit auditory learners. Speransky says, "This can also give students the benefit of both listening to someone explain something they're having trouble with and then recalling what they just heard by explaining it back."

Can Q&A sessions help auditory learners?

Speranksy says that Q&A sessions are a great study tactic for auditory learners. She explains, "This allows a student to rephrase and repeat aloud what they have learned, which is often beneficial for auditory learners.


  • Christina Merchant, curriculum manager at HeyTutor, one of the largest in-person, at-scale tutoring companies in the United States
  • Artyom Zinchenko, Ph.D., co-author of Wisest Learners (Parent Edition): Unlock the Secrets to Your Child's Academic Success and a Cognitive Neuroscientist
  • Dr. Wallace Panlilio II, co-author of Wisest Learners (Parent Edition): Unlock the Secrets to Your Child's Academic Success, has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Educational Psychology, with a specialization in online learning, best learning practices, and parenting
  • Lisa Speransky, founder and CEO of the Ivy Tutors Network

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