We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s a bit like when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You can connect with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time and enhance your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to accomplish some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re most likely pretty curious about exactly what auditory training is. 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 comprehend sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the primary uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
That’s because when you have neglected hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to being in a less noisy environment.) So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an influx of additional information. Practically, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not initially). As a result, auditory training often becomes a worthwhile exercise. Also, for individuals who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning difficulties, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Another perspective: It’s not so much that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better distinguish what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Auditory training was designed to help your brain get accustomed to making sense out of sounds again. People have a rather complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single 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 help with your auditory training in a number of different ways, including the following:
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to understand it! Audiobooks give you practice processing and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain needs practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing connecting those concepts to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your day-to-day life.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Let your stunning 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 in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than only the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring on social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much smoother!
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with some help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new set of hearing aids, it may have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to a complete conversation. You may require some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice understanding somebody else’s speech. During typical conversations, however, you will have much less control than you get 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 version of your audiobook is absolutely advisable. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic connections more robust. It’s definitely a beneficial way to enhance your auditory training experience. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also nice because they are pretty easy to get these days. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily 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 experience (and there are podcasts on just about 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 modern hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. This means you can pair your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. This means you don’t have to put huge headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
This creates a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and talk to us if you’re worried about having difficulty getting used to your hearing aids or if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss.