Japanese Listening Learning Strategies for Auditory Learners

If you’re an auditory learner, you might notice that you like to listen to educational podcasts to improve your Japanese listening skill.

Do you hate when people give you written directions? Do you often talk to yourself? Auditory learning is just one of the main methods that people use to learn new information; as the name suggests, auditory learners process information best when they can listen to it.

While you might already know what learning method suits you best, finding out how to apply this method in real life is often harder. What do auditory learners actually do to learn? And how can you use this knowledge to improve your Japanese?

Keep reading to see some Japanese learning strategies for auditory learners — and tips for making the Japanese language go in one ear and stay there!

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What is an Auditory Learner?

As mentioned earlier, auditory learners learn best by hearing information; but, of course, there’s more to it than that. Many auditory learners find it helpful to talk things out, express emotions through their voice (using pitch, tone, and volume), and tend to be very descriptive.

Others are easily distracted by sounds, enjoy dialogues and plays, and are great at remembering names. Additional characteristics include being musically gifted, easily recalling the way things sound, and being able to pick up on social cues in speech.

Finally, talking to oneself and preferring classrooms where discussion is encouraged is also common.

By answering questions about different scenarios, you can see how you usually learn information and how this corresponds to a certain learning style.

Many people also use more than one learning style, so you may discover a new aspect of yourself! If you happen to also be a visual learner, you can check out our guide for visual learners here.

If you’re definitely an auditory learner, keep reading to see how you can use this style to make your Japanese learning a lot easier and more effective!

Strategy 1: Record Information

No, we don’t just mean taking notes (though that is also really good to do)! If you learn best by hearing, then you should try to hear the information as many times as possible; repetition is a key factor in making new ideas stick in your mind.

As a result, try to audio-record information whenever you can – record your lectures, record yourself reading the lessons out loud, and record practice conversations. Then listen to these recordings as often as you can – during a walk, driving to work or school, or just doing tasks around the house!

The more times you hear the information, the more likely it is to stick with you.

You can use a voice memo app to do this, such as Apple’s Voice Memo app, Alice (which also automatically transcribes your recordings), or Tape-a-Talk (for Android).

Strategy 2: Listen Carefully

This is probably the most obvious of our strategies! If you learn best by hearing, then you need to have a purpose in your listening – you can’t just listen passively.

It can be easy to let your mind wander during lectures or to get distracted by other sounds, but being intentional with your attention can make all the difference. One way to do this is to take notes on the topics being taught.

Another way is to pay attention to how people are speaking. What tone are they using? What speed are they talking at? What does this say about the subject they are talking about?

You can also listen better by reducing the number of distractions around you; try sitting in quiet areas, sitting closer to your teacher, staying away from doors and windows (where sounds come in from outside), or using noise-canceling headphones when listening to recorded information.

If you prefer to listen to music while studying, try to avoid music with lyrics (as this can divert your attention from your lesson).

By the way, do you know that Coto has our own podcast called Coto Sounds? The podcast features 5-minute conversations between native Japanese speakers in Japanese on a chosen topic.

The podcast is composed of the conversation, followed by a breakdown of the conversation translated into English, and finishing off with some key vocabulary to take away from the conversation.

Strategy 3: Find Japanese Audio Resources

While we already talked about recording and listening to your lectures and notes, it’s also a good idea to find other resources that will allow you to practice hearing and understanding Japanese.

One of the best ways to do this is to find Japanese podcasts. JapanesePod101 is a great option for learners of all levels; when listening to Japanese speech, you can choose your learning level and speech speed, get word lists and line-by-line breakdowns for each episode, and even record yourself speaking the lesson to practice your pronunciation!

Learn Japanese Pod offers Japanese mini-lessons; you can listen to the whole lesson or just the dialogues, see the Romanji and English transcriptions, and even join their discord server!

The Japanese Page offers a variety of different podcasts – language lessons, listening practice, Japanese stories – whatever you think is interesting!

Japanese Learning Strategies for Auditory Learners

Aside from podcasts, using the audiobook version of your textbook (if it is available) is also a good idea; you could listen and follow along in your book at the same time!

You can also use Radio Garden, a free site that allows you to listen to radio stations all over the globe, to tune into Japanese talk shows and music.

If you’re a fan of Japanese anime or film, try watching a scene with the subtitles on; then, rewatch the same scene without the subtitles and try to pay attention to the dialogue.

As long as you are learning something new and having fun while doing it, you can’t go wrong with these options! 

Strategy 4: Talk Things Out

This may sound counter-intuitive at first, to talk rather than to listen. However, talking about what you’re learning (either to yourself or with others) and hearing the information spoken out loud is very helpful; many auditory learners find it helpful to process information by speaking about it.

This may look like reading aloud, discussing material with friends or teachers, or sounding out vocabulary. You can also talk through given problems and rephrase lessons in your own words.

Participating in class discussions is also important; if you don’t feel comfortable speaking up, you can always whisper your answer to yourself or take notes about what everyone else is saying. (Don’t be afraid to ask questions, though!)

If you want to talk with native speakers, the language exchange app HelloTalk, which connects you to Japanese people learning English, is a great place to start; you can text, send voice messages, call, or video chat!

If you prefer talking in person, why not attend a Japanese language exchange event and talk with a partner? Check out our list of language exchange events in Tokyo here or search in your area at Meetup!

You can also use talk-to-text apps to have these verbal exchanges written down in text format. Some of the best options for these are Notta (which can also sync to Notion), Just Press Record (only available for Apple users), and Speechnotes (which works on PCs).

Strategy 5: Don’t Neglect Other Ways of Learning

It might be tempting to focus solely on listening and not put much effort into other learning methods. However, these are still important ways for you to review lessons and understand what is being taught.

You still need to read your textbook, take notes, make flashcards, practice writing kana and kanji, read in Japanese, and so on.

Once you do these things, you can use the strategies above to really cement them in your mind – reword your notes, say your flashcards out loud, or discuss kanji with others, for example. The main point is to use listening as a tool, but not your only tool!

Additional Tips on Japanese Learning Strategies for Auditory Learners

– Try using rhymes and other mnemonics to help you remember vocab or grammar points.

– Using songs or different sounds to remember information can be really helpful; try making a song that lists all of the week’s vocab items, for example! Or, you can check out other songs on YouTube, such as this one for hiragana!

– Many auditory learners can also associate songs with different topics. When you study, try listening to different music for different topics. (For example, classical music for grammar and lo-fi for vocabulary!)

– When studying, reciting information with your eyes closed can help to reduce distractions and help you focus on what you are saying.

– Try role-playing with a friend or classmate to practice dialogues. How would a student communicate a message? How would a teacher? This can be a great way to incorporate Japanese societal etiquette into your practice!

– When taking notes, leave extra space for any realizations that may come about as a result of discussions.

– If you are taking a Japanese class, make sure to attend all of the lectures and discussion groups; being able to hear information in settings like these is very useful (especially if you have questions)! If there isn’t a discussion group already, consider making one! There will probably be other auditory learners in the class that would benefit from this as well.

– Don’t give up on forming new habits; it can be hard to stick to a new routine or a new learning strategy, but you will thank yourself in the end!


Sometimes, when learning a new language, it seems like information comes in one ear and immediately goes out the other! It can be hard to recall exactly what you have learned, even if you regularly study.

Now that you have these new strategies, however, you will be much better equipped to hear that new information and keep it with you! You’ll be listening to and understanding Japanese like a pro in no time!

Still, keeping an ear out for extra learning opportunities? Why not check out courses at Coto Academy? By accommodating a variety of different learning styles and paces, these classes are sure to help you achieve your Japanese language goals!

What is an auditory learner?

Auditory learners learn best by hearing information; but, of course, there’s more to it than that. Many auditory learners find it helpful to talk things out, express emotions through their voice (using pitch, tone, and volume), and tend to be very descriptive.

Is HeloTalk a good app to practice Japanese?

If you want to talk with native speakers, the language exchange app HelloTalk, which connects you to Japanese people learning English, is a great place to start; you can text, send voice messages, call, or video chat!

How should I learn Japanese if I'm an auditory learner?

One of the best ways to do this is to find Japanese podcasts. Try role-playing with a friend or classmate to practice dialogues. Participating in class discussions is also important, and you can speak out loud when you are studying — as if reviewing something with a friend.

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