Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, way back when. Naturally, that was long before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s a bit like when you were younger and a parent or teacher read to you. You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an enchanting story, and explore ideas you never knew about. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass the time and enrich your mind.
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 type of listening, developed to help you increase your ability to process, comprehend, and decipher sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We often talk about auditory training from the perspective of getting accustomed to a pair of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to being in a quieter environment.) So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to cope with an influx of additional information. Practically, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not at first). Consequently, auditory training often becomes a worthwhile exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for individuals with language learning difficulties or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t necessarily make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. People have a fairly complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound means something. Your brain has 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.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in a few different ways, including the following:
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to comprehend it! Audiobooks give you practice digesting and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain needs practice joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your daily life.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it’s not only the hearing part that can need a little practice. Individuals with hearing loss frequently also deal with social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a bit rusty. Audiobooks can help you get a grip on the pronunciation of words, making general communication a lot smoother!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Impress your friends by using amazingly apt words. Maybe that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your dinner at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick the right word for the right situation.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. During typical conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you will with an audiobook. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and engaged for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new set of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to a full conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
WE recommend that, as you enjoy your audiobook, you read along with a physical copy of the book too. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic connections more robust. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. Many online vendors sell them, including Amazon. Anyplace you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And there are also podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced simultaneously.
Can I utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Bluetooth functionality is a feature that is included with many modern hearing aids. Meaning, you can pair your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. This means you don’t have to put cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and increased convenience.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So come in and speak with us if you’re worried about having difficulty getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.