When participants search for a target letter while reading for comprehension, they miss more instances if the target letter is embedded in frequent function words than in less frequent content words. This phenomenon, called the missing-letter effect, has been considered a window on the cognitive mechanisms involved in the visual processing of written language. In the present study, one group of participants read two texts for comprehension while searching for a target letter, and another group listened to a narration of the same two texts while listening for the target letter’s corresponding phoneme. The ubiquitous missing-letter effect was replicated and extended to a missing-phoneme effect. Item-based correlations between the reading and listening tasks were high, which led us to conclude that both tasks involve cognitive processes that reading and listening have in common and that both processes are rooted in psycholinguistically driven allocation of attention.