Back in the old days they were known as “books-on-tape”. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook gives you the ability to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s sort of like having somebody read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s just 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 mentally enriching experience.
Turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to accomplish some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
As a specialized form of listening, auditory training is created to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the perspective of getting used 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 get out of practice. So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to deal with an increase of additional information. When this takes place, your brain will find it hard, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a practical tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful 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?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is precisely what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, people have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound means something. 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 new set of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in a number of different ways, including the following:
- 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 normal conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to understand them. It’s an excellent way to practice understanding words!
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, understanding 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 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 of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with some help from your audiobook pals. After all, if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids, it may have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to an entire conversation. You might require some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not just the hearing part that can need a little practice. Hearing loss can often bring on social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication much easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Impress your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food 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 too. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt faster to the new auditory inputs. In other words, it’s a great way to bolster your auditory training. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can instantly get 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 feel like listening to. You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind simultaneously!
Can I utilize my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many modern hearing aids. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to an easier process and a better quality sound.
Consult us about audiobooks
So come in and talk to us if you’re concerned about having trouble getting used to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.