Auditory Memory:

  • The following information is sourced from Nikki Heyman’s speech therapy blog page – a wonderful blog with lots of great information on auditory processing and other speech therapy related topics!
  • Another great resource….Here is a helpful book all about auditory memory – it contains some lovely ideas on how to improve and practice auditory memory skills. Ready Set Remember

The following difficulties may arise because of poor auditory memory:

Poor Comprehension of Orally Presented Directions:

  • Often the child thinks that he has understood directions for completing an assignment, when actually he has understood very little. As a result, assignments are often completed incorrectly.
  • The child may only be able to take-in and think about only three or four words at a time so they only hear three or four words.
  • Subconsciously he stops listening in order to process the information.
  • Then he listens again.
  • As a result, the child loses a word or two from every phrase. The information no longer makes sense and becomes confusing, boring, and hard to pay attention to.

While some children can recall a lengthy sentence well, they may not be able to process and recall a short passage that is presented orally. These students may be able to answer a specific question about the information that has been presented to them orally or that they have read, but are not able to grasp the whole paragraph.

The child thinks that he knows what he has heard or read orally, when actually, he has processed and recalled very little of the material.

Sometimes parents and educators assume that children have understood an entire passage when they answer a specific question about the passage, yet, that specific information might be all that they have gleaned from the passage!

It is therefore important that when reading stories to children, they are encouraged to retell the story with the main idea and supporting details, in order to demonstrate that they have total comprehension.

Difficulty Copying from the Board:

As mentioned in the first example, a child with auditory memory difficulties can often only remember one or two words at a time. He therefore needs to constantly look up at the board, down at his paper, up at the board, down at his paper. Copying from the board is a tedious task for him whereas other children can remember a sentence at a time.

Difficulty Taking Notes:

In order to take notes you need to:

  • Listen to the teacher.
  • Hold what you have heard in memory while writing it down.
  • Continue listening as the teacher continues with the next sentence.
  •  If you are not writing verbatim what the teacher says, you must also use logic and reasoning to form your own thoughts about what’s being said, while writing, while listening.

If your auditory memory is poor, auditory processing, processing speed, or logic and reasoning, note taking could be practically impossible.

 Reading Difficulties:

Phonics (sounds) is an auditory learning system and it is imperative to have a sufficient auditory short term memory in order to learn, utilize and understand reading using phonics.  The ability to hold speech sounds in memory is needed for tasks such as comparing phonemes, relating phonemes to letters, and sounding out words.

 Spelling Difficulties:

Many poor-spellers depend on memory for spelling and so they don’t do very well. Even someone with a superior memory can only “remember” the spelling of a few hundred words. Spelling is actually an auditory and a visual skill.

You must be able to hear the sounds within the words and to visualize. How often have you spelled a word and recognized, “No, that doesn’t look right?”

Children who memorize spelling words often forget the words soon after the spelling test. The brain says, “I don’t need that anymore,” and dumps the words to make room for next week’s spelling list.

 Poor vocabulary:

Children may experience difficulty developing a good understanding of words, remembering terms and information that has been presented orally, for example, in history and science classes. These students will also experience difficulty processing and recalling information that they have read to themselves.

When we read we must listen and process information we say to ourselves, even when we read silently. If we do not attend and listen to our silent input of words, we cannot process the information or recall what we have read. Therefore, even silent reading involves a form of listening.