In the past they were known as “books-on-tape”. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. These days, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s a bit like when you were a kid and a parent or teacher read to you. You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an engaging tale, and explore ideas you never knew about. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass time and enhance your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re most likely rather interested about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds complicated and a lot like school.
As a skilled form of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We often talk about auditory training from the context of getting accustomed to a pair of hearing aids.
Because untreated hearing loss can cause your hearing to become used to a quieter environment and your brain can grow out of practice. So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an influx of additional information. When this takes place, your brain will find it hard, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Consequently, auditory training often becomes a helpful exercise. Also, for individuals who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a useful tool.
Think of it like this: It’s not so much that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better distinguish what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is created to do. Humans have a pretty complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound you hear has some significance. It’s a lot for your brain to process. The concept is that audiobooks are an ideal way to help your brain get used to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps those french fries look dubious, or you’re concerned that bringing your friends to the bar will really exacerbate your issues with your boyfriend. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a full conversation, especially if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and understanding speech again. But you also have a little more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can rewind if you can’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. It’s a great way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than only the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring on social isolation which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a great deal easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to comprehend it! When you follow the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice differentiating speech. Your brain needs practice joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your everyday life.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is definitely advisable. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain could adapt faster to the new auditory inputs. In essence, it’s a great way to strengthen your auditory training. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also great because they are pretty easy to come by these days. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can instantly purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always try listening to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on practically every topic). You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind simultaneously!
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
A wide variety of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. So all of your Bluetooth-equipped devices, including your phone, your tv, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. This means you don’t need to place huge headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. Rather, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and greater convenience.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So come in and talk to us if you’re concerned about having difficulty getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss.