We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. Nowadays, people call them audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a far better name).
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s a lot like having someone read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s just that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting tale, and explore ideas you were never aware of. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
As it turns out, they’re also a great way to accomplish some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds complicated and an awful lot like school.
Auditory training is a specialized type of listening, designed to help you improve your ability to process, perceive, and interpret sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We often talk about auditory training from the context of getting accustomed to a pair 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 when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to cope with an influx of additional information. When this occurs, your brain will find it difficult, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a practical tool to help deal with this. (As a side note, auditory training is also useful for people who have language learning challenges or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is created to do. Humans have a pretty complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound you hear has some significance. Your brain has to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new pair 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 assist with auditory training:
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? The more words you’re exposed to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps those potatoes look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends to the bar will really exacerbate your issues with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words queued up for any situation.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending somebody else’s speech. During normal conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you get with an audiobook. You can listen to sentences as many times as you need to in order to distinguish them. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than only the hearing part. 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!
- Listening comprehension: Perceiving speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing completely. When you follow along with 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 ideas to words. In your day-to-day life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with some help from your audiobook pals. After all, if you’re getting used 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 require some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
WE recommend that, as you enjoy your audiobook, you read along with a physical copy of the book also. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain could adapt more quickly to the new auditory inputs. In essence, it’s a great way to reinforce your auditory training. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also nice because they’re pretty easy to come by these days. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can listen to them anywhere 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. You can sharpen your hearing and enrich your mind simultaneously!
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth capability is a feature that comes with many contemporary hearing aids. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Instead, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
This creates a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you believe your hearing might be on the way out, or you’re concerned about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.