We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. Nowadays, 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 when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You can connect with new ideas, get swept up in a story, or discover something new. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time and enhance your mind.
Turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to accomplish some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds complex and an awful lot like school.
Auditory training is a specialized form of listening, developed to help you improve your ability to process, perceive, and decipher sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the primary uses of auditory training is to help people 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 when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to cope with an increase of additional information. Practically, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not initially). Auditory training can be a useful tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for those who have language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: It’s not really that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better understand what you hear.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Auditory training was created to help your brain get used to distinguishing sounds again. If you think about it, humans have a very complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound signifies something. Your brain has to do a lot of work. The idea is that audiobooks are an excellent way to help your brain get used to that process again, particularly if you’re breaking in a brand-new pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in a number of different ways, including the following:
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with some help from your audiobook pals. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a full conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids. You might need some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and understanding speech again. But you also have a bit more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to understand them. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to comprehend it! Audiobooks give you practice processing and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain needs practice joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. In your daily life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than only the hearing part. Individuals with hearing loss frequently also suffer from social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Maybe that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you find 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 faster to the new auditory signals. It’s definitely a beneficial way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can instantly purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on pretty much every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced simultaneously.
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
A wide variety of modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. Meaning, you can connect your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
This leads to a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So come in and speak with us if you’re concerned about having difficulty getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.