First off, if you want to retain information, you have to actively listen to it. Simply putting it on like you would background music is not going to help that much. However, if you do want to learn by listening to a lecture, there are several strategies you can use. Here are some listening strategies you can try to employ. They are mostly targeted at being in lecture, but listening is listening either way.
Another useful fact is that the speed that the average brain thinks at is 400 words per minute. Find the speed of speaking at which your brain doesn't tune out at, but still has time to process everything coming its way. If you have a friend, have them speak at different speeds and observe the effect on your attention span. Then when you turn on your audio lecture, see what speed the lecturer speaks at and adjust the speed in an audio editing program to match your brain's attention span. Also, if you can't change the speed of the audio but it's slower than you want, then ask yourself small questions in between sentences so that you don't lose attention.
Obviously if you are trying to "multitask" you have to make the audio slow enough to where you can hear every word and work on your job, if that's what you wanted, but multitasking has been proven to be impossible.
There was a study done on audio-tutorials versus in-person lab-lecture and the people who used audio had better scores/retention.
A few questions you might want to ask about yourself are:
What sound intensity of music helps block out ambient noise but still allows me to hear myself think?
Where are the best places for me to listen to audio?
Which subject am I going to be listening to? (You answered this in your question but some of those subjects can't be simply listened to once through for retention. I would say Computer Science and Quantum Physics need a very quiet environment if you are going to be listening to them. Hopefully you have a pause button. Meanwhile, the others you mentioned might be possible if you are able to memorize quickly.)
Finally, if you have a car, I would highly recommend listening to your lecture in the car, and then when you are sitting down elsewhere, re-listen to that same lecture. Repetition really helps with retention! (You can find lots of articles on that online.)
Hope this helps! Let me know if you need clarification, etc...