©Arlene R. Taylor PhD

An auditory sensory preference means that what the individual takes in through sound (e.g., ears, sound waves beating against the skin) typically registers most quickly and intensely in the brain. It gets their attention more quickly and may even require less energy to decode the data.

Some commonly displayed characteristics of auditories follow, including characteristics that may be observed in children based on their individual sensory preference. Use these as general guidelines for discussion, remembering that each brain is as different as the person’s thumbprint and you may be more aware of one system than another at any given moment depending on the environment in which you find yourself.

Characteristics of Individuals with an Auditory Preference

  • Use auditory words and metaphors (e.g., that sounds okay to me, it’s clear as a bell, keep your ear to the ground, that doesn’t ring true, as irritating as a dripping faucet, do you hear what I mean?)
  • Often exhale deeply and sigh especially when tired, tense, or stressed
  • May cock head to one side when listening carefully or speaking intensely or cup or touch ears
  • React faster and/or more intensely to auditory stimuli
  • The brain responds more quickly and intensely to auditory cues

Auditory Children Summary

  • Like pets that make sounds or talk and prefer toys that make sounds
  • Food must sound right (e.g., may like or dislike the way food sounds when being chewed)
  • May be afraid of loud or scary sounds (e.g., storms, sirens, people crying)
  • The way clothing sounds may be important (e.g., may like/dislike swish of nylon or clank of zippers)
  • Often sensitive to things they hear in the environment (e.g., caregivers arguing, a child being punished)
  • Tend to quickly feel nurtured/loved by positive auditory stimuli (e.g., pleasant sounds in nature, pleasing music, affirming voice tones)
  • May be bruised by lack of positive auditory input (e.g., silent treatment, harsh voices, jangling keys, raucous/unpleasant noises)
  • Often learn most quickly by listening to verbal explanations of how something is done