Back in the old days they were known as “books-on-tape”. Naturally, that was long before CDs, much less digital streaming. These days, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a much better name).
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind of like having someone read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s exactly that). You can engage with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass time and enhance your mind.
Turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds complex and an awful lot like school.
As a skilled form of listening, auditory training is created to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and comprehend sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the principal uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
Because neglected hearing loss can cause your hearing to get used to a quieter environment and your brain can get out of practice. So your brain will need to cope with a big influx of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. When this happens, your brain will find it hard, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. As a result, auditory training frequently becomes a worthwhile exercise. Also, for individuals who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful 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 understand what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Auditory training was created to help your brain get accustomed to making sense out of sounds again. People have a rather complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound you hear has some meaning. It’s a lot for your brain to absorb. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain become accustomed to hearing and comprehending again.
Here are a number of ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have much less control than you get with an audiobook. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. This works really well for practicing making out words.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it’s not just the hearing part that can need some practice. Hearing loss can often bring on social isolation which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication much smoother!
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and involved for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new set of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last took part in and listened to a complete conversation. You may need some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, understanding it is another thing entirely. When you follow the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain needs practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing joining those concepts to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your daily life.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your dinner at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick the right word for the right situation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is absolutely advisable. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory signals. In other words, it’s the perfect way to strengthen your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also great because they’re pretty easy to get right now. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. Many online vendors sell them, and that includes Amazon. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you particularly like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on pretty much every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced at the same time.
Can I use my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Bluetooth functionality is a feature that comes with many contemporary hearing aids. 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 put cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
You’ll now get better sound quality and greater convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you believe your hearing may be on the way out, or you’re worried about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.