We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Of course, that was long before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. These days, people call them audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a much better name).
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind of like when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You can engage with new concepts, get swept up in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are a great 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?
So you’re probably rather interested about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds complicated and an awful lot like school.
As a skilled kind of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and comprehend sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We often discuss auditory training from the context of getting used to a pair of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have neglected hearing loss, your brain can slowly grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to living in a quieter environment.) So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an influx of extra information. When this takes place, your brain will find it difficult, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a useful tool to help deal with this. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for individuals with language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is precisely what auditory training is designed to do. Humans have a rather complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound signifies something. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. The concept is that audiobooks are an ideal way to help your brain get used to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a brand-new set of hearing aids.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to understand it! Audiobooks give you practice digesting and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain needs practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing connecting those ideas to words. In your everyday life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to broaden their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy standing 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.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook friends. Maybe it’s been some time 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.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than just the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring on social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. But you also have a little bit more control than you would during a normal conversation. 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!
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is highly recommended. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory signals. In other words, it’s the perfect way to strengthen your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can instantly purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you particularly like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on pretty much every topic). You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind at the same time!
Can I utilize my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
A wide variety of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. So all of your Bluetooth-equipped devices, including your phone, your tv, and your speakers, can be paired with your hearing aids. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and increased convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you think your hearing may be on the way out, or you’re uneasy about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.