So many discussions about which way is more effective in acquiring knowledge, by reading or listening. A compelling topic and studies assessed the effectiveness of both methods. Here are some facts to consider.


Books vs Audiobooks

Professionals and educators today are discussing whether reading or listening to books is a better approach to learn and comprehend. Starting with the extensive use of the Internet, we shifted from traditional books to digital. But the interesting is that libraries and books still exist.

Based on research of Psychology professor Matthew Traxler of the University of California, the brain processes information much the same way, either reading or listening. Recent studies suggest that when mental processes are involved, there is no difference between listening to a book or reading it.


Reading as-compared-with Listening

Another study by the University of California at Berkeley on MRI brain scans found that the brain is fire up from reading and listening with the same effect. On the contrary, both listening and reading have challenges that requires the person to focus on the information.

“Reading a book and listening to an audiobook are two diverse ways that lead to the same destination. Each creates different experiences, neither is better nor worse than the other.”

Researchers have found that reading is faster than listening, and it might be a better way to deal with distractions. Book allows a person to promptly go back and read what he do not understand, whereas audio playback requires more time by clicking rewind. But reading has visual challenges because staring at images and videos are easier on the eyes than just text.

In listening, the audio cannot play back. While listens to audio, a person must use immediate comprehension skills that include interpreting information. The main problem with just listening is that words can be garble, the speaker cannot speak clearly, or the sound is inaudible due to a background noise. But audiobooks have strengths.

Benefits of listening to an audiobook:

  • Listeners can benefit from the narrator’s modulations and intonation to improve comprehension; sarcasm easily communicated in audio than text for instance.
  • As a person get more used to audiobooks, he increases his critical listening skills.
  • Listening to audiobook is convenient and effective, depends on the listener and the complexity of the material.

Additional benefits will include in the next article.



Each method has its own benefits, both reading and listening are effective ways to absorb and understand latest information. But modernists believe that listening would overpower reading as a preferred learning method.