Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, way back when. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s sort of like having someone read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s just that). You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an engaging story, and explore ideas you never knew about. Audiobooks are a great way to pass time and enrich your mind.
Turns out, they’re also a great way to accomplish some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re most likely pretty curious about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds complex and an awful lot like school.
As a specialized kind of listening, auditory training is created to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and distinguish sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the context of getting used to a set of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have unaddressed hearing loss, your brain can slowly grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to being in a less noisy environment.) So your brain will need to cope with a significant influx of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. In practice, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not initially). Auditory training can be a practical tool to help handle this. Also, for people who are coping with auditory processing conditions or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a useful tool.
Another perspective: Audio books won’t necessarily make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
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, people have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound means something. 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 become accustomed to hearing and comprehending again.
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 a little help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new pair of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last took part in and listened to a full conversation. You might need some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Maybe that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick the right word for the right situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it’s not just the hearing part that can need a little practice. Those that have hearing loss frequently also suffer from social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a little out of practice. Audiobooks can make communication much easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. But you also have a little more control than you would during a normal conversation. You can rewind if you can’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. It’s an excellent way to practice understanding words!
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to comprehend it! Audiobooks help you practice processing and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain requires 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.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is absolutely recommended. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory signals. In essence, it’s the perfect way to bolster your auditory training. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, and that includes Amazon. Anyplace you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
Plus, 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 pretty much every topic). You can sharpen your hearing and improve your mind at the same time!
Can I use my hearing aids to play 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 have to place huge headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. Rather, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
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 talk to us if you’re concerned about having trouble getting used to your hearing aids or if you believe you may be experiencing hearing loss.