We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook gives you the ability to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s a bit like when you were a kid and a teacher or parent read to you. You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting story, and explore ideas you were never aware of. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
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 ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a special form of listening, created to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the primary uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
Because untreated hearing loss can cause your hearing to get 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 deal with an increase of extra information. Practically, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not at first). As a result, auditory training often becomes a worthwhile exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for people who have language learning difficulties or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: It’s not really that audiobooks can improve your hearing, it’s that they can help you better understand what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Auditory training was designed to help your brain get used to making sense out of sounds again. Humans have a pretty complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound you hear has some significance. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. The concept is that audiobooks are an excellent way to help your brain get used to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a brand-new pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice comprehending somebody else’s speech. 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 distinguish them. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to understand 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 remain rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your day-to-day life.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to increase their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Surprise your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Maybe that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than only the hearing part. Those with hearing loss frequently also suffer from social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a little rusty. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much smoother!
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and involved for longer periods of time. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been able to engage in a full conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. You might require some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is highly advisable. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic links stronger. In essence, it’s the perfect way to strengthen your auditory training. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also good because they’re pretty easy to come by these days. 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 listen to them anywhere on your phone.
And there are also podcasts on pretty much every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced at the same time.
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
A wide variety of modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. This means you can pair 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 have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
You’ll now get better sound quality and increased convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you think your hearing may be on the way out, or you’re uneasy about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, consult us about audiobooks.