Back in the old days they were called “books-on-tape”. Of course, that was well before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. Nowadays, people call them audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a far better name).
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like having somebody read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s just that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting tale, and experience ideas you were never aware of. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
Turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re most likely pretty interested about what exactly auditory training is. It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized type of listening, designed to help you improve your ability to process, perceive, and interpret sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the context of getting accustomed to a set of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have unaddressed hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to living in a less noisy environment.) So your brain will need to deal with a big influx of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. In practice, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not initially). Auditory training can be a practical tool to help deal with this. Also, for those who are coping with auditory processing disorders or have language learning difficulties, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Another perspective: It’s not really 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 make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, people have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound signifies something. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain become accustomed to hearing and understanding again.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. During normal conversations, however, you will have far 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. This works really well for practicing following words.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to increase their vocabulary. The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Impress your friends by using amazingly apt words. Perhaps those potatoes look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends to the bar will really exacerbate your problems with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words queued up for any situation.
- Listening comprehension: Perceiving speech is one thing, understanding it is another thing entirely. When you follow along with the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice differentiating speech. Your brain needs practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing linking those ideas to words. In your daily life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t only the hearing part that can need a little practice. Individuals with hearing loss frequently also deal with social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a little rusty. Audiobooks can help you get a grip on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much easier!
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with some help from your audiobook pals. 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. You may need some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is definitely advisable. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio signals making those linguistic connections more robust. In essence, it’s the perfect way to bolster your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also nice because they are pretty easy to get right now. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily get them from Amazon or other online sellers. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you particularly like, you could always try listening 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 at the same time.
Can I utilize my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth capability is a feature that comes with many contemporary hearing aids. Meaning, you can connect your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. This means you don’t have to place cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. Instead, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and greater convenience.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So if you think your hearing may be on the way out, or you’re worried about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.