All Things Azeroth is always advertising for the website audible. My initial reaction was excitement - books! I love books! Me and books, we're tight like sisters. Then I realized that since I have serious trouble concentrating on audio, it would be entirely wasted on me.
I'm not entirely sure what the problem is. I do have some problems hearing purely on the volume level, but more often I find that even if I can hear the sound, I have trouble understanding the meaning. The yearly work health check says my hearing is just fine, so it must just be a part of my brain that says "Yeah that sound, I don't think I'll pay attention to it."
In person, I will watch a person's mouth if I'm having trouble understanding. I can't actually read lips, but making myself focus on the source of the sound makes it easier to concentrate on it. When it comes to audio-only conversations, I basically have to stop everything I'm doing to be able to participate. WoW podcasters often mention that they are playing WoW while recording, but for me that would be disastrous! The few podcasts I have participated in have been in complete isolation, with DND on all my chat programs and WoW turned off.
Passive listening, like podcasts, requires slightly less effort. I can do mindless activities like cleaning up, cooking, or farming while focusing on a prerecorded conversation. (To this day, going to Burning Steppes makes me think of Girls Gone WoW.) My biggest bane is vent, which is such a bummer! Using vent for raids has become increasingly hard for me. When the RL starts to helpfully explain the strat, my brain tunes right out. If I didn't read strats or have experience with the fights, I would be completely screwed! When healing assignments are given out, I always ask for confirmation in the healer channel. It's kind of a running gag that I frequently tab out to check facebook. I do sometimes tab out, usually to check my feedreader during breaks, but my flighty impression comes mostly from the fact that my pathetic ears betraaaaay meeee! The longer a day I've had, the harder it is to buckle down and focus on aural input.
During a boss fight is just fine, because I'm concentrating so hard on the fight. Taking verbal cues like "brez Spanky" or "green platform next" fits right in with reacting to the trumpets and gongs of DBM. But as soon as the fight ends (or I die...) my brain goes right back to la la land!
Have you ever had trouble focusing on audio? What do you do to help yourself pay attention? What are things that help you focus in general?