In the past they were known as “books-on-tape”. Back then, of course, 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 sort of like having somebody read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s precisely that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting tale, and experience ideas you never knew about. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
And they’re also an ideal tool for audio training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds complicated and an awful lot like school.
Auditory training is a specialized type of listening, developed to help you increase your ability to process, comprehend, and decipher sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the context of getting used to a set of 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 your brain will need to cope with a huge increase of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. In practice, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not initially). Auditory training can be a practical tool to help deal with this. Also, for people 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.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Auditory training was created to help your brain get accustomed to making sense out of sounds again. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound you hear has some meaning. It’s a lot for your brain to absorb. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain get used to hearing and understanding again.
Here are a number of ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and understanding speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have far 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 making out words.
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a complete conversation, especially if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. You may need some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the bigger your vocabulary will become. Surprise your friends by using amazingly apt words. Perhaps those french fries look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends along to the bar will really exacerbate your problems with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not only the hearing part that can need a little practice. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication much easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! Audiobooks give you practice processing and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain requires practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing joining those concepts to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your day-to-day life.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is absolutely advisable. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio signals making those linguistic links more robust. In essence, it’s the perfect way to bolster your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also great because they’re pretty easy to get these days. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, including Amazon. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on just about every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. You can sharpen your hearing and improve your mind at the same time!
Can I utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Many modern hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. 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. Instead, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
This results in an easier process and a better quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and talk to us if you’re worried about having trouble getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss.