Work Traits

Hearing Learning Style

Hearing learning style is particularly useful in positions with a lot of oral presentations, such as leadership, selling, customer service, and coaching.
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What is hearing learning style?

Having a hearing learning style means that when it comes to learning or making a decision, you’d much rather have a conversation or listen to a presentation than read something on your own. That’s because you have a hearing learning style, which means you’re most convinced by auditory stimuli when making a decision about a concept, process or person.

Auditory stimuli can range from presentations, explanations, and stories to discussions, audio recordings, and audio books.

On your team, you might be known for having the gift of gab and you tend to clearly enunciate your words. You may not look directly at people when they speak, but you pay close attention to their tone of voice and volume. To put it simply, you’re tuned into all sorts of auditory clues.

We call it: Hearing

The level of importance for you to hear something in order for you to be convinced and make a decision about it.

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.

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Leaders who had a hearing learning style

Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

American novelist and short-story writer, Ernest Hemingway, was a big believer in the power of listening. In fact, he blatantly admitted that it was the main way he learned new information and ideas.

“I like to listen,” he’s famously quoted as saying. “I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

Whoopi Goldberg

Growing up, actress Whoopi Goldberg was often told she lacked intelligence. As it turns out, it was dyslexia that led to her academic struggles.

Because of that, Goldberg leaned heavily on a hearing learning style. Her mother would often read to her, and Goldberg realized she excelled in other areas beyond her learning disability. She even said, “If you read to me, I could tell you everything you read."

Whoopi Goldberg
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With a legendary singing career under her belt, it makes sense that Cher would have a hearing learning style. After all, research shows that auditory learners tend to love music.

However, Cher also struggled with dyslexia her entire life, which exacerbated her preference for hearing. “When I was in school, it was really difficult,” she said in an interview. “Almost everything I learned, I had to learn by listening.” 

The benefits of a hearing learning style

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Small auditory cues—from inflection to volume—carry a lot of weight with you. While they slip by unnoticed for others, you usually pick up on them.

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Things like visual aids and hands-on opportunities aren’t always accessible. Auditory stimuli—even as a simple discussion—is usually readily available.

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You’re typically not guilty of letting things ‘go in one ear and out the other’. You have a great memory for the things you hear.

The blind spots of a hearing learning style

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You might have a tendency to read aloud, talk to yourself, or stop colleagues for discussions. While it’s helpful to you, it can be disruptive to coworkers with different learning styles.

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Reading speed

People with a hearing learning style might read at a slightly slower pace, simply because written words are less motivating to them. When only written info is available, you might feel demotivated.

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While auditory information is common, it’s not constant. You might dislike environments where silence is prevalent, such as taking an exam. However, in very noisy places, you could find yourself getting sidetracked.

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How to have a hearing learning style

1) Choose the best seat.

From presentations to team meetings, not all spots are created equal. Especially during a large gathering, select a seat where you’ll be able to hear the information clearly.

That will help you pick up on all of the details and auditory cues, which you can use to shape your learning and decision making.

2) Read aloud.

If you want to train your brain to process and retain more auditory information, start reading aloud to yourself—whether it’s directions, notes, or something else.

While it might feel a little silly at first, it gives you the opportunity to hear those words, rather than silently reading them.

3) Record conversations.

This is something you’ll want to ask permission for first. But, if you’re given the go-ahead, try recording important conversations or team meetings. You can listen to those later and continue to process that information using a hearing learning style. 

If you can’t record discussions with others, even recording yourself reciting important information will give you some auditory stimuli that you can replay and reference.

4) Repeat things with closed eyes.

When you close your eyes, you’re tuning out any visual stimuli. So, close your eyes and recite important facts or directions to yourself.

This simple trick gives your brain no choice but to focus on the auditory process and learn by hearing—even if you’re only talking to yourself.

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