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"I don't remember talking about that..." Auditory Memory

Posted by Matthew Turton on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 @ 08:45 PM

This is the second in a series of blogs about six different areas of Memory.

Last week I kicked off a series of articles looking at six different types of memory and how they work. From elementary students to adults, many suffer from memory weaknesses without realizing it. Breakthroughs assesses six different types of memory and this article is the second in a series of blogs about each type, and how they affect our lives. Last week we looked at two types of visual memory. This week we will introduce two different types of Auditory Memory and finish up Auditory Memory next week.

Auditory information memoryHave you ever had an argument with someone over what they did or didn’t say? Chances are one of you was incorrect right? Today we will begin to look at the two types of memory likely responsible for that disagreement, Long Term Auditory Storage, and Long Term Auditory Retrieval.

Common Symptoms

These are some warning signs that Long Term Auditory Memory may not be functioning well.

If you struggle to:

  • Memorize and recall telephone numbers
  • Taking notes
  • Remember people's names
  • Follow multi-step spoken directions
  • Remember lines from songs.
  • Recall stories you have been told
  • Follow instructions
  • Remember spoken information
  • Remember specific words/numbers

Of course, there can be other causes for these challenges such as auditory discrimination, listening comprehension, focus etc., but auditory memory is a problem seen from Grade 1 through to our senior citizens.

How the different parts of our brain work to store memories

How it Works

This fMRI brain scan shows different areas of the brain responsible for memory. Green areas are used in visual memory, red areas are used for auditory memory and yellow areas are used for both. Remember, we’re focusing on auditory memory for now.  

At Breakthroughs, Long Term Auditory Memory is separated and assessed as two types, auditory storage and auditory retrieval. The storage score indicates the brain’s ability to store and retain auditory details. The retrieval score indicates the brain’s ability to pull that information back to the conscious mind from storage when needed.

Next week we will continue our discussion of these Auditory Memory systems and hear some real life stories. Stay tuned!


MT Headshot   3inAs a child who struggled to overcome learning disabilities himself Matthew always knew he wanted to help other children know they weren’t dumb. Having now logged over 15,000 hours working with children and adults with learning disabilities he shares his experience of what it’s like on both sides of learning disabilities. Matthew’s not quite sure what free time is, but when he finds it he enjoys spending time with his wife and two year old son and playing soccer.

Topics: memory, auditory memory, behaviour

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