In the past they were called “books-on-tape”. Of course, that was long before CDs, much less digital streaming. Nowadays, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an engaging story, and explore ideas you were never aware of. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
And they’re also a great tool for audio training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re probably rather curious about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds tedious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized type of listening, created to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, 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 your brain will need to deal with a significant influx of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. 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 practical tool to help deal with this. Also, for people who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Think of it like this: It’s not so much that audiobooks can improve your hearing, it’s that they can help you better understand what you hear.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is designed to do. People have a pretty complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound you hear has some significance. Your brain has to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain get used to hearing and comprehending again.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with some help from your audiobook pals. Perhaps it’s been some time since you’ve been able to participate in a complete conversation, especially if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Surprise your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps those potatoes 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 pick the right word for the right situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need some practice. Those that have hearing loss often also deal with social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a bit rusty. Audiobooks can help you get a grip on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication a lot smoother!
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and understanding speech again. During typical conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you get with an audiobook. You can rewind if you can’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! When you follow the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain needs practice linking words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your day-to-day life.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is definitely recommended. Your brain will adjust faster to new audio signals making those linguistic connections more robust. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training adventure. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can easily get them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can listen to them anywhere on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on just about every topic). You can sharpen your hearing and enrich your mind at the same time!
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many contemporary hearing aids. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. This means you don’t need to put cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to an easier process and a higher quality sound.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So if you believe your hearing might be on the way out, or you’re uneasy about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.