We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Of course, that was well before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. These days, people call them audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
An audiobook gives you the ability to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind 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. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass time and enrich your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds complex and an awful lot like school.
Auditory training is a specialized form of listening, created to help you enhance your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the primary uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to being in a less noisy environment.) So your brain will have to deal with a significant influx of new auditory information when you get new hearing aids. When this occurs, your brain will find it difficult, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. As a result, auditory training often becomes a useful exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for those with language learning challenges 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 exactly what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound signifies something. It’s a lot for your brain to process. The concept is that audiobooks are a great 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 help with your auditory training in a few different ways, including the following:
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with some help from your audiobook friends. Maybe it’s been some time since you’ve been able to engage in a complete conversation, especially if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- 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 differentiating speech. Your brain needs practice linking 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.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice understanding somebody else’s speech. During typical conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you get with an audiobook. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. It’s a great way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than just the hearing part. Those with hearing loss frequently also deal with social isolation, and that can leave 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!
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to expand 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 meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is highly advisable. Your brain will adjust faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic links stronger. In other words, it’s a great way to strengthen your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
It’s also really 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.
And you can also get podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind at the same time!
Can I listen to audiobooks through my hearing aids
Lots of modern hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. Meaning, you can pair your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. This means you don’t need to put huge headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. Rather, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
You’ll now get better sound quality and greater convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and speak with us if you’re worried about having difficulty getting used to your hearing aids or if you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss.