View Full Version : Harder to understand information through listening than reading

09-08-15, 10:57 AM

Do you who have ADHD, find it harder to learn new material through listening, than reading? I myself have a very hard time absorbing information in verbal form. As long as I remember I always needed to reread everything in school, because I retained very little from the lectures. And now in college I never go to lectures, because it pretty much useless with my head. I read books instead.

Of course it also takes me longer time than other to absorb the material by reading, but once I grasp it, I noticed I'm pretty good at using that information.

I remember when I was in school, and we had to solve different math problems. It always took me longer than anybody else to go through easy problems. But when the tasks started to get more complex, I remember quickly catching on and being able to solve the hardest ones, that nobody else could. Pretty much the only thing that hindered me from thinking that I'm just plainly an idiot.

I think that part of the problem why it's always taken me so long to absorb information is, because I always needed to understand the underlying concept of it, even if we just swam through the surface of a topic. I have been struggling with social anxiety as well, which I know causes this effect.

It seems however that difficulty with retaining information in my working memory because of a mild ADHD is a bigger factor.

Sorry for a long post. Thank you in advance for your replies!

09-08-15, 01:47 PM
For me: Yes to everything you said. I'm just like that.

(Well, when you said "plainly an idiot" - you're not, but I think I know what you mean - that when you don't catch on to the concept then you're stuck, you can't even get part-way there without the concept.)

09-08-15, 03:43 PM
I highly recognize this. I have problems with written instructions too but it's not as bad as trying to understand from hearing. Is it actually a question of reading v/s hearing? The thing that makes written information easier to me doesn't seem to be the letters but rather the fact that it's visual.

09-11-15, 09:58 PM
yeah man I can relate, and like you I'm pretty sure it's from the social anxiety. I get very self concious when I ask questions in class feeling like everyone is talking crap about how easy of a question that was that I asked. But yeah understanding the entire concept is pretty huge for me as well. Good post.

09-18-15, 07:07 AM
I can relate to this. This is like a rewind back when I was still in grade school and people called me stupid for not being able to keep up. It hurt a lot. Do we really have to be called that? It's not like it's our fault for being this way. The world is a cruel place sometimes.

09-18-15, 01:42 PM
I'm the same.

I hardly went to lectures in college, when I did I sat in the back and slept or chatted or ate.

I studied my textbooks and did most of my practical/lab work. I got mostly As and B+s

09-20-15, 07:35 PM
Definitely! Lectures were mostly a waste of time when I was in school. I also learn by getting the general concept first, which is why my order of preference is:

1) Visual information
2) Written information
3) Spoken information

I think partly it's because if something's written you can re-read, whereas if it's spoken and you stop paying attention it's gone forever!

02-06-16, 04:24 PM
Yes. I hear you. My grades fluctuated in college; it stumped me. In retrospect, I typically received A's in classes which involved heavy reading, individual presentations, and tests based on the reading. None of these tasks required listening to the lecturer; these tasks were never based on "real time" events. I excelled in at-home contemplation: I could always re-read information and discuss it in my head without auditory interference. At times I found the classroom distracting: too many students with too many intentions, lots of eyes, an attractive professor, suddenly someone making small talk, wrinkled clothing, a humming of lights. Classes which only met once or twice a week were ideal. I couldn't stand attending a course three times a week then meeting for a discussion section. I typically failed those classes. It was too much contact with stimulation; all these classes carved into my reading and study time. I would come home exhausted and sleep. In many cases I medicated with non-academic reading, walks in the dark, and sojourns to Blockbuster video.

02-07-16, 02:59 AM
It depends, I was fine with lectures where you could take notes
But I have a terrible time understanding instructions.

DJ Bill
02-07-16, 10:51 AM
100 percent with you there, B+W14, especially the part about needing to understand why something is the way it is.

The point about spoken information being gone forever is a good one too.

02-07-16, 12:00 PM
Another yes to each point.

When I force myself to attend lectures I either end up playing with my phone, restlessly doodling or just sneaking out when the lecturer gives his back, promising myself to read on later.

I also have anxiety that holds me from engaging in lectures and asks questions, especially that sometimes I ask impulsive questions and more especially that all of my friends graduated and I don't feel as comfortable in class and don't socialize with the younger folks (I'm 26) I guess that makes things harder too.

The only 2 lecturers that I actually enjoyed attending for, taught interesting courses with interesting and engaging teaching style and they covered all the concepts from the ground up like they are thinking exactly like me, I'd ask questions they were already going to answer.

I wished all lecturers were like them.

09-19-16, 03:51 PM
Wow, that's me. Especially the part about math. I rarely work in groups for my physics and differential Equations classes because I struggle to keep up with all the calculations--usually getting the wrong answer due to a string of silly errors. Yet, in my Geometries class, I'm always the one who sees the proofs before anyone else, and solves the problems that no one else can. I never considered that it could be a function of working memory, but my working memory is legitimately terrible, so it would make sense for me, at least.

09-19-16, 07:30 PM
When I was studying to be a teacher ( elementary level) one of the things that came up was that people learn mainly in one of 3 ways, reading, listening, or kinesthetic ......( that last one by doing) usually use a bit of all 3 but with one of those predominate

...So it may or may not be hooked in with ADHD ....( think maybe cause of our attention problems)

...I am someone who learns by doing .....sigh ...not a lot of that going on in school ! I paid a price of being someone who tested in the 99% bracket, but struggled to make Bs, and way to many Cs for a very bright person ....

09-21-16, 12:38 PM
I can't follow verbal instructions . . . and I can't really follow written instructions. I actually have to have BOTH at the same time in order to understand what's going on.