In the past they were known as “books-on-tape”. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, people call them audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a much better name).
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like when you were a kid and a teacher or parent read to you. You can connect with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass the time and enrich your mind.
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 ask? It sounds complex and a lot like school.
As a specialized kind of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and distinguish sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently discuss auditory training from the perspective of getting used to a set of hearing aids.
Because untreated 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 abruptly has to deal with an influx of additional information. Practically, this usually 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 handle this. Also, for those who are coping with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Another perspective: Audio books won’t necessarily make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, humans have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound you hear has some significance. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. The concept is that audiobooks are an excellent way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a brand-new pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in a few different ways, including the following:
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not only the hearing part that can need a little practice. Those who suffer with hearing loss often also deal with social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a little out of practice. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication a lot smoother!
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! When you follow the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain requires practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing connecting those ideas to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your daily life.
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a full conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending somebody else’s speech. During typical conversations, however, you will have much 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. It’s an excellent way to practice understanding words!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. 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 version of your audiobook is highly recommended. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory inputs. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also great because they are pretty easy to come by right now. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. Many online vendors sell them, and that includes Amazon. And you can listen to them at any time on your phone.
Plus, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always try listening to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on pretty much every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced simultaneously.
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
Lots of modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. Meaning, you can connect your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
This leads to a simpler process and a higher quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and speak with us if you’re worried about having trouble getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.