Definitively the best idea is to do the effort to learn relaying on hearing.
I have seen many times the opposite to happen because –just as you mentioned- at the beginning it seems “awkward” to learn something counting if you are not used to do it that way.
The approach of giving predominance to reading and writing instead of counting and hearing is characteristic of classical guitar practitioners. Our approach is that YOU learn the thing yourself right away, the tabs are just a “back-up” and nothing else.
This is -in fact- one out of many differences between classical and flamenco guitar. In flamenco you need to do your best to be able to internalize the compás by counting and playing simultaneously be it a falseta, a melody or any particular rhythmic pattern.
Here are examples of all three:
As you could see in the above mentioned videos, we move towards learning things grasping the nuances by ear. In my experience this method has proved to be the best by far.
Same thing applies to the fret board, the mere fact that your attention is on the visual aspect drags you to the past as opposed to be 100% in present time when you are performing.
Here you can watch a couple of videos on this regard:
Whatever I advise is on your behalf. This is consistent with my philosophy of work which I personally explained on the following video:
Go on enjoying your guitar practice!