Back in the old days they were called “books-on-tape”. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like having somebody 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 experience ideas you never knew about. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
As it turns out, they’re also a great way to achieve some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a special type of listening, designed to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the principal uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can slowly grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to being in a quieter environment.) So your brain will have to deal with a big increase 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 normally does (at least, not initially). Auditory training can be a practical tool to help deal with this. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for individuals with language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: It’s not so much that audiobooks can sharpen 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 distinguishing sounds again. If you think about it, humans have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every sound signifies something. Your brain needs 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.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have much less control than you will with an audiobook. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. It’s an excellent way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and engaged for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids, it may have been a while since you last took part in and listened to an entire conversation. You may require some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing entirely. Audiobooks give you practice digesting and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain needs practice connecting words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. In your daily life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not just the hearing part that can need a little practice. Hearing loss can often bring on social isolation which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication a lot smoother!
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to expand their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Impress 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. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words queued up for any situation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is definitely advisable. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain could adapt faster to the new auditory signals. In essence, it’s a great way to reinforce your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also nice because they’re pretty easy to get these days. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily get them from Amazon or other online sellers. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And there are also podcasts on pretty much every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind simultaneously!
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
A wide variety of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. This means you don’t need to place huge headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. Rather, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
This results in a simpler process and a higher quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you believe your hearing may be on the way out, or you’re worried about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.