Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. These days, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
An audiobook gives you the ability to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s a lot like having someone read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s precisely that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting tale, and explore ideas you never knew about. Audiobooks are a great way to pass time and enrich your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re probably rather interested about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a special type of listening, created to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, and decipher sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We often talk about auditory training from the perspective of getting accustomed to a set of hearing aids.
Because neglected hearing loss can cause your hearing to become used to a quieter environment and your brain can get out of practice. So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an increase of additional information. When this takes place, your brain will find it difficult, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Consequently, auditory training often becomes a helpful exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for people who have language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: It’s not really that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better distinguish what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, people have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound means something. It’s a lot for your brain to process. The idea is that audiobooks are an excellent way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a brand-new set of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and involved for longer periods of time. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been able to engage in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. You might need some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and understanding speech again. During typical conversations, however, you will have much 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 really well for practicing following words.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not just the hearing part that can need some practice. People who suffer with hearing loss often also deal with social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can make communication a great deal easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- 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 spoken about. Your brain requires practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing linking those ideas to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your daily life.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to increase their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Maybe that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is absolutely recommended. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory signals. In other words, it’s a great way to bolster your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also nice because they are pretty easy to get these days. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can easily purchase them from Amazon or other online sellers. And you can hear them at any time on your phone.
And there are also podcasts on just about every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced at the same time.
Can I utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Many modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. 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.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you believe your hearing may be on the way out, or you’re uneasy about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.