We used to call them books-on-tape, once upon a time. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. 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 sort of like when you were younger and a parent or teacher read to you. You can connect with new ideas, get swept up in a story, or discover something new. Audiobooks are a great way to pass time and enrich your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a great way to accomplish some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
So you’re most likely rather interested about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds complex and a lot like school.
As a skilled kind of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the primary 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 grow out of practice. So your brain will have to cope with a huge influx of new auditory information when you get new hearing aids. Practically, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not at first). As a result, auditory training often becomes a worthwhile exercise. Also, for individuals who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Another perspective: Audio books won’t really 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 precisely what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, people have a very complicated relationship with noise. Every sound means something. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. 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 pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in a number of different ways, including the following:
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing entirely. When you follow along with 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 joining those concepts to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your day-to-day life.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with some help from your audiobook friends. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. But you also have a little 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!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the bigger your vocabulary will become. Impress your friends by using amazingly apt words. Perhaps that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your dinner at that restaurant is sumptuous. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than only the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring about social isolation which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
WE recommend that, as you listen to your audiobook, you read along with a physical copy of the book as well. Your brain will adjust faster to new audio signals making those linguistic links more robust. It’s definitely a great way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also good because they are pretty easy to get these days. 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 at any time on your phone.
Also, 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 utilize my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Many contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled 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. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
You’ll now get better sound quality and increased convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you believe your hearing might be starting to go, or you’re worried about getting used to your hearing aids, consult us about audiobooks.