The power of sound: How auditory learning can make you more productive

Sound is a powerful tool. Imagine a world without sound; things wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. While sound benefits us in all aspects of our lives, it can actually make humans more productive, too. This is especially true for anyone who is an auditory learner.

While auditory learners absorb information best through listening and speaking, sound can benefit everyone, even if you’re not specifically an auditory learner. Sound can help people retain information, connect words with facts or visualizations, and be a simple and effective way to obtain and retain information. According to INC, auditory learners can retain over 75% of the information they hear!

Here are tips for auditory learners and beyond to best absorb and benefit from the power of sound.

But first...understand your learning style

As we mentioned above, visual and kinesthetic learners can also benefit from sound just as auditory learns can. However, for the best productivity, it’s helpful to first understand your learning style. Pure auditory learners may benefit the most from the tips mentioned below in this article, but realizing if you need to add a video to that audio text in order to best retain the information may be really important for a visual learner. This is especially useful when learning new skills or studying, both of which are important not only for productivity but for professional development. If you aren’t sure of your learning style, there are plenty of tests you can take online to determine it.

Close your eyes when listening

While this may not be the best way to listen to your CEO’s speech (you don’t want to appear bored), closing your eyes while listening to a podcast or while on the phone will ensure all those other distractions, especially visual ones, melt away, allowing you to focus intensely on the words themselves. This makes for deeper listening and better information retention, all leading to increased productivity.

Read aloud

Reading aloud is another way to take advantage of the power of sound. Not only does it help you catch errors and typos in any document of your own you may be proofreading, reading information from others aloud helps with memory and retention. In fact, a study by the University of Waterloo found that reading aloud not only helps you remember more right off the bat, but it also helps the information stick in your long-term memory, too.

Listen first, then take notes

Sometimes, writing down information as you listen can actually be distracting. First, listen and absorb, then write. This will allow your brain to fully process the words. Once you’ve heard it all, you can think about what information was truly key, and write it down. You’ll remember more this way, and your notes will likely be more organized and more concise, focusing on what’s most important.

Talk to yourself

Yup, we’re giving you full permission to be a little crazy! Talk to yourself whenever you need to reinforce something you’ve seen or heard in order to remember it, or work it out further. It actually helps your brain perform better. Studies show that talking to yourself can increase performance and concentration, leading to higher productivity and better time management.

Listen to music or white noise while you work

Believe it or not, white noise is a powerful focusing tool for your brain. First off, studies show that white noise can help improve memory functions. Beyond that, researchers have also found that using background stimuli helps the brain’s auditory centers concentrate. Since increased concentration leads to faster and better output, it’s definitely worth a try. Many apps such as Tide FM offer white noise options, or you can simply find a playlist on Spotify that works.

For more on productivity apps and tools for auditory learners, see our article here.

Brainstorm out loud in a group

If you’re brainstorming with others, you’re not only saying your ideas aloud but listening to other people’s spoken ideas, too. Verbally bouncing thoughts back and forth can trigger new emotions and thoughts in your brain, leading you to places you perhaps didn’t think you could go. This is the auditory version of ‘thinking outside the box.’

Ask questions

This may seem obvious, but speaking through your questions and thoughts when you’re not entirely sure about something is the best way to not only gain clarity, but later retain that information. If you’ve asked a verbal question to someone and they’ve answered you, you now not only have the answer, but it may be easier for you to recall it, thinking back to your verbalized question-answer situation.

Talk it out (especially at work)

While it may be tempting (especially if you’re working remote) to hop on Slack or email to discuss things with your team, a call may actually heed the best results. Besides the obviousness of better clarification and immediate response time that comes with a call or real-life interaction vs. email, speaking face-to-face or on the phone with someone will also ensure you retain more of the information — and you may come up with new ideas, too, similar to that in-person or Zoom chat verbal brainstorming session.

Use the right auditory tools

Tools can help auditory learners (or anyone, really) be more productive. So, listen to podcasts instead of watching TV, listen to e-books instead of reading, or use speech-to-text software instead of taking notes. Apps such as Elocance are also key, best for listening to emails, work documents, or anything at all, helping you save time.

elocance is your audio superpower. Build productive habits and save time by listening. Save articles, PDFs and Word docs, turn them to audio and listen on the go.

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