Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind of like having somebody read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s exactly that). You can engage with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass time and enhance your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re probably rather curious about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a special type of listening, developed to help you improve your ability to process, perceive, and decipher sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the main uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new 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 suddenly has to cope with an increase of additional information. When this takes place, your brain will find it hard, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a useful tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for people who have language learning challenges or auditory processing conditions).
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, humans have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound signifies something. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain get used to hearing and understanding again.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to comprehend it! When you follow along with the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice differentiating speech. Your brain needs 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.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Maybe those potatoes look dubious, or you’re concerned that bringing your friends along to the bar will really exacerbate your problems with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than just the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring on social isolation which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication much easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and engaged for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids, it may have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to a full conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice understanding somebody else’s speech. During normal conversations, however, you will have much less control than you will with an audiobook. You can listen to sentences as many times as you need to in order to understand them. It’s the perfect way to practice understanding words!
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is highly recommended. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic connections stronger. It’s definitely a beneficial way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also nice because they are pretty easy to get these days. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. 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 pretty much 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 listen to audiobooks through my hearing aids
Many contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. This means you can pair your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Instead, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
This results in a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you think your hearing might be on the way out, or you’re worried about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.