We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like when you were a kid 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 never knew about. Audiobooks are a great way to pass time and enrich your mind.
Turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to achieve some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds tedious like homework.
As a specialized kind of listening, auditory training is created to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and comprehend sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the context 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 your brain will need to deal with a huge increase of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. When this occurs, your brain will find it hard, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Consequently, auditory training frequently becomes a helpful exercise. Also, for people who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning difficulties, auditory training can be a useful tool.
Another perspective: Audio books won’t necessarily make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Auditory training was created to help your brain get used to distinguishing sounds again. If you think about it, people have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound means something. Your brain has to do a lot of work. The idea is that audiobooks are a great way to help your brain get used to that process again, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids.
Here are a number of ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. During typical conversations, however, you will have much less control than you will 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.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Surprise your friends by using amazingly apt words. Maybe those potatoes look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends to the bar will really exacerbate your issues with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words queued up for any situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not just the hearing part that can need some practice. Individuals with hearing loss frequently also suffer from social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can help you get a grip on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much smoother!
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook pals. Perhaps it’s been some time since you’ve been able to engage in a full conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- 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 talked about. Your brain needs practice linking words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. In your daily life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is highly recommended. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio signals making those linguistic connections stronger. In essence, it’s a great way to strengthen your auditory training. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, and that includes Amazon. And you can listen to them anywhere on your phone.
Plus, if you can’t find an audiobook you particularly like, you could always try listening to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on pretty much every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced at the same time.
Can I use my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
A wide variety of modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and increased convenience.
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 accustomed to your hearing aids or if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss.