Have you ever downloaded an audiobook and found it almost impossible to follow the story? Audiobooks may be a convenient alternative to reading, but they are not for everybody. Below are five reasons why you can’t concentrate when listening to audiobooks.
- Different People Learn Better in Different Ways
Each individual has a different style of learning, whether it be auditory, visual, or kinesthetic. Each person’s brain processes visual and auditory input differently. It is challenging to listen to something, interpret it, and understand it instantly, which is required when listening to information. With reading, people can process the information at their own speed.
- One Voice Reads the Entire Story
Listening to a narrator read a book really limits the imagination. When the same voice is reading each character, it is hard to imagine each character’s different emotions and nuances. Authors write a book with various characters that each have a unique and interesting tone and voice. This is lost when the same person is reading everything.
Additionally, one narrator can easily lose the emotional response of the characters. The reader will set their own emotions into a scene and prevent you from creating your own in your head. Each reader will insert their own biases and influence to some extent how you comprehend the story. When you read a book, you can interpret the words however you feel and create your own emotions and voices in your head, adding variety.
- You Can’t go Back and Reread
When you are listening to any kind of audio, it is linear. There is no way to re-listen to the subjects, so your listening skills are crucial for absorbing the information. Although you can rewind an audiobook to hear what the person said, it takes a lot of effort and is not as easy as rereading a line. The constant back and forth is distracting from the storyline.
When reading a physical book, it is easy to reread a passage repeatedly until you understand every word. It is also easy to flip back through pages and remind yourself of facts you might have forgotten. This takes a lot of time with audiobooks and will likely result in you having to re-listen to large sections of the book that you didn’t care to hear again.
- Predetermined Pacing
Perhaps the biggest reason why you can’t concentrate when listening to an audiobook is the pacing. I, for one, am a very slow reader, and I need to reread a passage multiple times to understand it fully. Listening to a book read quickly overwhelms my mind and makes me disengage. Before I know it, I am lost and have no idea what is happening in the story.
Additionally, it may take someone much longer to listen to an audiobook and understand it than it would for them to simply read it. On average, an adult can read between 250 to 300 words each minute. To comprehend someone speaking, they need to talk at between 150 to 160 words per minute. This means that you can read something up to two times faster than you could listen to it.
- Authors Intentions
When an author writes a book, they do so with the intention of you reading it. Have you ever heard someone say, “the book was so much better than the movie”? The author intended it to be a specific format and making it into a movie disrupted that format. The same thing occurs with the audio conversion.
By switching formats, you lose a component of the story. Each and every reader will interpret a book differently and take away different things from the text. As I mentioned before, this is the same with the actor reading the book. Their emphasis and performance might convey something completely different than what the author had originally intended.
If you thought an audiobook would be a great addition to your morning commute but halfway through your drive, you found your mind wandering; you’re not alone. When it comes down to it, audiobooks just simply aren’t suited for everyone. Now you can better understand why reading the old-fashioned way might be a better fit for you.
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