In the past they were called “books-on-tape”. Of course, that was long before CDs, much less digital streaming. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s a bit like when you were a kid and a parent or teacher read to you. You can connect with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass time and enrich your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a great way to accomplish some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re probably pretty curious about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds tedious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized form of listening, developed to help you increase your ability to process, perceive, and decipher sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the principal uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
Because neglected 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 pair of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to cope with an influx of extra information. When this happens, 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 worthwhile for those who have language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t necessarily 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 distinguish 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 single sound you hear has some meaning. 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, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice understanding somebody else’s speech. But you also have a little more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to understand them. It’s a great way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to expand their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick the right word for the right situation.
- Listening comprehension: Perceiving speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing entirely. Audiobooks give you practice digesting and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain needs practice joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. In your everyday life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than just the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication much easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
WE recommend that, as you listen to your audiobook, you also read along with a physical copy of the book too. Your brain will adjust faster to new audio signals making those linguistic connections stronger. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training adventure. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. Many online vendors sell them, including Amazon. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. You can improve your hearing and improve your mind simultaneously!
Can I utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Lots of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. So all of your Bluetooth-equipped devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. This means you don’t need to put huge headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to an easier process and a higher 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 worried about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.