Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. These days, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a far better name).
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind of like having someone read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s just that). You can engage with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
And they’re also an ideal tool for audio training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
As a skilled kind of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and distinguish sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the perspective of getting accustomed to a pair of hearing aids.
Because untreated hearing loss can cause your hearing to get used to a quieter environment and your brain can grow out of practice. So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to deal with an increase of additional information. Practically, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not at first). Auditory training can be a useful tool to help handle this. Also, for those who are coping with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a useful tool.
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Auditory training was created to help your brain get accustomed to making sense out of sounds again. People have a fairly complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound means something. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. The concept is that audiobooks are a great way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to increase their vocabulary. The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Maybe that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words queued up for any situation.
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, understanding it is another thing entirely. 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 daily life.
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and engaged for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new set of hearing aids, it may have been a while since you last took part in and listened to an entire conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. But you also have a little more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. It’s an excellent way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than only the hearing part. People with hearing loss often also suffer from social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
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 could adapt more quickly to the new auditory inputs. In other words, it’s the perfect way to strengthen your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also good because they’re pretty easy to get these days. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, including Amazon. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
Plus, 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 pretty much every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced together.
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
A wide variety of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. Meaning, you can pair your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and increased convenience.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So if you believe your hearing might be starting to go, or you’re worried about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, consult us about audiobooks.