Reading

Ears or Eyes? Audiobooks Versus Reading

“This book sounds so interesting! And it’s by my favorite author; I always enjoy her books! They always have really good spiritual applications, too. Oh, it’s available as both a book and an audiobook. I wonder which I should get? There’s not much difference in price. I wonder which one I would enjoy more? I guess it comes down to audiobooks versus reading.”

Which is better: an actual book or an audiobook? And by audiobook I mean a recording of someone reading a book and not a dramatization of it. Much as I love a good audio-drama, they are not the same as an audiobook.

Is there much difference between a book and an audio-book? Is one better than the other? Let’s find out as we discuss audiobooks versus reading.

Books

  • Books are better for visual learners
  • Reading doesn’t require electronics
  • Reading won’t disturb others
  • The reader is fully-focused on their book
stack of books with headphones leaning against them audiobooks versus reading

Books are better for visual learners.

Visual learners learn best by using their eyes. That means reading a book is better for them than listening to an audio-book. When they are listening, their mind will be more likely to wander than if they are reading. The same book will not have nearly the impact on them in audio-book form as it would in book form.

I’m a visual learner, and all of this applies to me. I would much rather read a book than listen to an audio-book. I focus so much better on a book, and I enjoy reading a lot more than listening to something.

Reading doesn’t require electronics.

Reading an actual book doesn’t require the use of any electronics: no chargers, cell-phones, head-phones, speakers. Nothing electronic. It can be a time to unplug, unwind, and relax. You can go out in nature, away from the internet. Or you can curl up in a comfy chair with a glass of lemonade or an iced coffee. Doesn’t that sound so inviting? Getting completely away from your electronics for awhile?

Audio-books on the other hand have to have electronics of some sort. You have to have some type of device for playing it: an Mp3 player, a cell-phone, a laptop, something. You also need some way to charge your device and probably head-phones or a speaker. It is impossible to be completely unplugged while listening to an audio-book.

Reading won’t disturb others.

Reading is not a noisy activity. If your little brother is napping or your dad is having an important phone call and needs quiet, or your sister has a splitting headache, you can still read. If you are in a public environment like a doctor’s office, you can read without disturbing any of the other people around you. They might disturb and distract you, but you won’t bother them.

With an audio-book, you must either play it where everyone around you also hears it or play it through headphones, giving the impression you are tuning out everything around you and not aware of your surroundings. I’ll admit though, that when I’m really focused on a book, I might be as unaware of what’s going on around me as someone listening with the best sound-blocking headphones.

The reader is fully-focused on their book.

With an audiobook, it’s easy to tune it out, especially if we are busy doing something or there is activity going on around us. You can get distracted while reading, but it’s typically not as apt to happen. For me, the main times I’m distracted are when my environment is just too noisy or busy for me to concentrate or when the book I’m reading is not especially interesting.

However, when I’m listening to an audiobook, any little activity can be distracting for me, especially if it’s something I have to think about. Auditory learners might struggle with this less since this is their preferred learning style.

Now, we’ll move on to the benefits of audio-books. What are they?

Audiobooks

  • Audiobooks are better for auditory learners
  • You can do other activities while listening
  • You can listen to audiobooks with others
  • Audiobooks are the best option when sick
A headset and cellphone | audiobooks versus reading

Audiobooks are better for auditory learners.

Books are best for visual learners, and audiobooks are best for auditory learners. So if you are an auditory learner, they are right for you since they use your preferred learning style.

If you have found that you can’t focus very well on an actual book, try finding an audiobook instead. They are getting more and more common, and they aren’t usually any more expensive than an actual book. Sometimes they are actually cheaper or even free.

You can do other activities while listening.

It doesn’t really work to read and do something else, unless it’s eating or drinking, and even then you have to be careful that an accident doesn’t damage your book. You can’t very well read and walk, read and fold laundry, or read and color. It just doesn’t work.

But with an audio-book, you can read and do anything that doesn’t take a lot of concentration. Is there a particular chore that you especially don’t enjoy? If it’s a mindless one like washing dishes, sweeping, or cleaning the bathroom, try listening to an audio-book while you do it. It will give you a diversion while you work, and may help you learn to actually enjoy that chore.

Audio-books don’t have to be combined with just chores, either. You can listen while you color or do your favorite craft. As a visual learner, I actually focus best on an audio-book when I am doing something mindless while listening. If you’re a visual learner, you might want to try that too.

You can listen to audiobooks with others.

Reading is pretty much a one-person activity. You can read with someone else, but you’re not really enjoying quality time together; you’re each focused on your own book.

With an audiobook, you can listen with about as many people as you want. As you all listen together, you can enjoy the humor together, feel sad together, and learn together. If you know the story and someone else doesn’t, you can enjoy watching their reaction at your favorite plot twist. Audiobooks are a great whole family activity since there are so many good books that are suitable for all ages.

Headphones on a stack of books

Audiobooks are the best option when sick.

With a lot of sicknesses, you don’t really feel like reading. But you don’t want to lay there doing nothing, feeling miserable, wondering when you’re going to start feeling like you might survive after all. So, what can you do to take your mind off of how terrible you feel?

If you answered, “Listen to audiobooks,” you are 100% correct! Audiobooks are actually better than books when you are sick. You can just lay there and rest, while having a distraction. If the reader has a nice voice, they might even put you to sleep, a good way to rest and begin getting better.

Just make sure that your choice of books is not too exciting or deep. Something light and interesting is usually the best option, so you don’t have to use a lot of brain power to concentrate or get your adrenaline up because it’s so intense. Either of these situations are not good for getting better and just waste the little bit of energy you may or may not have.

Conclusion:

So, what’s the decision on audiobooks versus reading? My answer is that it depends. On what? Well, it depends on your learning style, your surroundings, whether you are needing to work or have time to relax, whether you are alone or in a group. I prefer books, but I am also a visual learner. Auditory learners would prefer audiobooks as would people who don’t particularly enjoy reading.

And depending on what I am doing, I enjoy audiobooks too. What about you? Which do you enjoy more? Are you a bigger fan of reading or listening to audiobooks? Let me know in the comments what your answer is to the audiobooks versus reading question.

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