In the past they were called “books-on-tape”. Back then, obviously, 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 when you were a kid and a parent or teacher read to you. You can connect with new concepts, get swept up in a story, or learn something new. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
As it turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to achieve some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds tedious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized type of listening, developed to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently discuss auditory training from the context of getting accustomed to a set of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have neglected hearing loss, your brain can slowly grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to being in a quieter environment.) So your brain will have to deal with a big increase 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). Auditory training can be a useful tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for those with language learning difficulties or auditory processing disorders).
Another perspective: It’s not really that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better understand 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. Humans 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 process. 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 new set of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Listening comprehension: Perceiving speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing completely. Audiobooks give you practice processing and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain requires practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing connecting those ideas to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your daily life.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. 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. This works really well for practicing following words.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re exposed to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Surprise your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your dinner at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to an entire conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than just the hearing part. People that have hearing loss often also deal with social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a little rusty. Audiobooks can make communication much easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
WE recommend that, as you enjoy your audiobook, you also read along with a physical copy of the book too. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic connections more robust. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. Many online vendors sell them, and that includes Amazon. Anyplace you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And there are also podcasts on pretty much every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. You can improve your hearing and improve your mind at the same time!
Can I listen to audiobooks through my hearing aids
Bluetooth capability is a feature that comes with many contemporary hearing aids. 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 place cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This results in a simpler process and a higher quality sound.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So come in and talk to us if you’re worried about having trouble getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you believe you may be experiencing hearing loss.