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Home » Articles » Reading vs. listening: Is listening a good replacement for reading?

Reading vs. listening: Is listening a good replacement for reading?

Reading vs. listening Is listening a good replacement for reading

It is quite undeniable that reading is not everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately, given today’s modernized world, people are able to improve their comprehension and retain important information by listening. 

Thanks to technological innovations, we are now able to listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Same as reading, we are also able to learn and enrich our knowledge. Sometimes, it could even simply be for entertainment purposes.

But when it comes to reading vs listening, which do you think makes us more efficient? Which of the two makes us comprehend more information? Lastly, is listening the new reading? Let us find out! 

The science of reading vs listening

Truth is, there are differences as to how our brains process information that are through auditory and visual means. Studies show that we develop our own learning preference either through hearing or reading material. For some, they are able to learn by either method. 

An Academic study performed in 2016 at Bloomberg University has revealed that there aren’t major differences in both methods when it comes to the students’ comprehension.   

This was also backed up by an Academic study that was published in 2018. As per the outcome, students are able to learn both through reading vs listening. While the students had their own preferences, there was no to little difference in their learning when they incorporated the other way.

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Another study from the University of California has shown that our brains are equivalently stimulated by both reading and listening. 

The science of reading vs listening
The science of reading vs listening

Reading vs listening: Are audiobooks and podcasts better than physical books?

One quick fact is that about 65% of the entire population are visual learners and 30% are auditory learners. The remaining five per cent are kinesthetic learners, meaning learn best by engaging in activities or by being hands on. 

In studying a new language, we are able to remember words better and how they are used by reading. However, reading together with listening to an audiobook is the most effective way in learning a new language or new information.

Other language experts like Steve Kaufman, also suggest that in order to improve our listening skills, we should also read the same content. 

Reading vs listening: Advantages of audiobooks and podcasts

Audiobooks and podcasts have become more popular today than ever. While there are people who prefer the traditional books, audiobooks and podcasts offer a new experience. Part of its advantages are the following: 

Ability to multitask

We all have the luxury to listen to audiobooks or podcasts while at the gym, driving, or while going for a run. This method is perfect for people who do not have spare time to read something. 

Improved language acquisition

When we listen to audiobooks and podcasts, it helps augment our vocabulary, literacy and overall language acquisition. This is most especially to children as their brains are on its developing stage. 

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Relaxed eyes

Audiobooks and podcasts are more convenient to our eyes compared to reading physical books or ebooks. Most people spend an average of seven hours a day in front of screens.

Blue lights coming from our screens usually result in headaches, disrupted sleep, and eye strain, among others. 

Enhanced literacy skills

Listening to audiobooks or podcasts has proven to enhance individuals’ literacy skills and fluency, especially in learning a new language. This method is also very useful for people with learning disabilities.

Reading vs listening: Advantages of reading

Not everyone may enjoy reading books. However, this method has excessive advantages to each one of us and these are the following: 

Vocabulary development

Basically, the more you read, the more you are exposed to a lot of words, especially new words. Through reading, these words will eventually be incorporated into your vocabulary. 

This can also be very helpful in every profession as it helps in becoming more articulate, knowledgeable, and well-spoken. As a result, it also helps in boosting one’s self-confidence.

Reading vs listening Advantages of reading
Reading vs listening Advantages of reading

Mental stimulation

Our brains also need exercise just like any part of our body. By simply reading, it makes our brains healthy, strong and it also aids in our memory. 

Another interesting fact is that mental stimulation also helps in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.   

Improved memory

As we read books like literature, we remember certain characters, plots, and events that make up the story. Every memory we create through reading creates new pathways in our brains. More so, these new synapses strengthen the olds ones which also strengthens our short-term memories.  

Better writing skills

We can also learn different forms of writing styles through reading. This goes along with improving our vocabulary. Reading the works of profound authors and well renowned literature will also influence aspiring writers and content writers

Reading vs listening: In conclusion

As we have discussed above, every individual has their own learning preference. More so, there isn’t much difference in comprehension when it comes to reading vs listening. But one thing is for sure, combining both makes it more effective, especially in learning. 

Speaking of podcasts, you might also want to check out our podcast series. Outsource Accelerator’s Derek Gallimore does valuable sit down talks with various industry leaders in the global BPO industry. 

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