In the past they were known as “books-on-tape”. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. Nowadays, people call them audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a much better name).
An audiobook gives you the ability to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind of like having somebody read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s precisely that). You can engage with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or learn something new. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
Turns out, they’re also a great way to accomplish some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds complicated and a lot like school.
As a skilled form of listening, auditory training is created to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We often talk about auditory training from the context of getting accustomed to a set of hearing aids.
Because neglected hearing loss can cause your hearing to become used to a quieter environment and your brain can grow out of practice. So your brain will have to deal with a big increase of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. In practice, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not initially). As a result, auditory training frequently becomes a useful exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also useful for individuals with language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Another perspective: It’s not so much that audiobooks can improve your hearing, it’s that they can help you better understand what you hear.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, people have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound you hear has some meaning. Your brain has to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain get used to hearing and comprehending again.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t only the hearing part that can need some practice. Individuals with hearing loss often also deal with social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much easier!
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and understanding speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you get with an audiobook. You can rewind if you can’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. Maybe it’s been some time since you’ve been able to take part in a complete conversation, particularly 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.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! When you follow along with the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain needs practice linking words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. In your daily life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to expand their vocabulary. The more words you’re subjected to, the bigger your vocabulary will become. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words queued up for any situation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
WE recommend that, as you enjoy your audiobook, you also read along with a physical copy of the book as well. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic connections stronger. In essence, it’s a great way to bolster your auditory training. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. Many online vendors sell them, including Amazon. Anyplace you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind simultaneously!
Can I listen to audiobooks through my hearing aids
Bluetooth functionality is a feature that comes with many contemporary hearing aids. This means you can pair your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to a simpler process and a higher quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and speak with us if you’re worried about having difficulty getting used to your hearing aids or if you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss.