We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. 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 a bit like when you were younger and a parent or teacher read to you. You can connect with new concepts, get swept up in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass the time and enrich your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to achieve some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds complicated and an awful lot like school.
As a specialized form of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and distinguish sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the context of getting used to a set of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have unaddressed hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to living in a quieter environment.) So your brain will need to cope with a big increase of new auditory information when you get new hearing aids. When this happens, 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 with language learning difficulties or auditory processing conditions).
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?
Auditory training was designed to help your brain get used to distinguishing sounds again. People have a pretty complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound signifies something. It’s a lot for your brain to absorb. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain get used to hearing and understanding again.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than only the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can help you get a grip on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication a lot easier!
- 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 stunning new words impress all of your friends. Maybe those french fries look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends along to the bar will really exacerbate your problems with your boyfriend. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. But you also have a little bit more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can listen to sentences as many times as you need to in order to distinguish them. It’s the perfect way to practice understanding words!
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing completely. When you follow the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice differentiating speech. Your brain needs practice helping ideas 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: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook friends. Perhaps it’s been some time since you’ve been able to take part in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. You may require some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is definitely advisable. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt faster to the new auditory signals. It’s definitely a great way to enhance your auditory training adventure. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can easily purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
Plus, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same experience (and there are podcasts on practically every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced at the same time.
Can I utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
A wide variety of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to an easier process and a better quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you believe your hearing may be starting to go, or you’re concerned about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, consult us about audiobooks.