Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, people call them audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s a bit like when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an enchanting tale, and explore ideas you never knew about. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time and enhance your mind.
And they’re also an ideal tool for audio training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds complicated and a lot like school.
As a skilled kind of listening, auditory training is created to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the principal uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to being in a less noisy environment.) So your brain will need to cope with a substantial increase of new auditory information 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 useful exercise. 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 so much 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 precisely what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound you hear has some significance. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. So if you’re breaking in a new pair 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:
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need some practice. Those with hearing loss often also suffer from social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication a lot smoother!
- 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 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: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to comprehend it! When you follow the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain needs practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing connecting those concepts to words. In your everyday life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new pair of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last took part in and listened to a complete conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you will with an audiobook. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to understand them. This works really well for practicing following words.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is highly recommended. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain could adapt more quickly to the new auditory signals. It’s definitely a beneficial way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can instantly get them from Amazon or other online sellers. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
Plus, if you can’t find an audiobook you really 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 simultaneously.
Can I listen to audiobooks through my hearing aids
Bluetooth functionality is a feature that is included with many contemporary hearing aids. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be paired with your hearing aids. This means you don’t have to put cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. Instead, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
This results in an easier process and a higher quality sound.
Consult us about audiobooks
So if you believe your hearing might be starting to go, or you’re worried about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.