We used to call them books-on-tape, once upon a time. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s kind of 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 story, and experience ideas you were never aware of. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
Turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to accomplish some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
As a skilled form of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and distinguish sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the main uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
Because untreated hearing loss can cause your hearing to get used to a quieter environment and your brain can get out of practice. So when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to deal with an influx of extra information. When this takes place, your brain will find it hard, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a useful tool to help deal with this. (As a side note, auditory training is also useful for people with language learning difficulties or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. Humans have a pretty complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound you hear has some significance. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. The idea is that audiobooks are a great way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, particularly if you’re breaking in a brand-new set of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have far 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. It’s a great way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and involved for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to engage in a full conversation, especially if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. You may require some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, comprehending 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 linking words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. In your daily life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not only the hearing part that can need some practice. People with hearing loss often also suffer from social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a little out of practice. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication a lot easier!
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to broaden their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Maybe those french fries look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends along 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.
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 signals making those linguistic links more robust. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also great because they are pretty easy to come by these days. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can instantly get them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can listen to them at any time on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on practically every topic). You can improve your hearing and improve your mind simultaneously!
Can I use my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Bluetooth functionality is a feature that comes with many modern hearing aids. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. 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 come in and speak with us if you’re concerned about having difficulty getting used to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.