Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, way back when. Naturally, that was well before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like having somebody read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s precisely that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an engaging tale, and experience ideas you never knew about. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
Turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to achieve some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
So you’re most likely rather curious about what exactly auditory training is. 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 comprehend sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently discuss auditory training from the context of getting used to a set of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to being in a quieter environment.) So when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an influx of additional information. Practically, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not initially). As a result, auditory training frequently becomes a useful exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for those who have language learning challenges or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: 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 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 single sound you hear has some significance. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. The concept is that audiobooks are a great way to help your brain get used to that process again, particularly if you’re breaking in a brand-new pair of hearing aids.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- 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 joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. In your day-to-day life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook pals. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to participate in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids. You might need some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it’s not only 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 little out of practice. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication a lot smoother!
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and comprehending speech again. But you also have a little more control than you would during a normal conversation. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. It’s an excellent way to practice understanding words!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Impress your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your dinner 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 highly advisable. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory signals. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training adventure. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily 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 listen to a podcast to get the same experience (and there are podcasts on practically every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced at the same time.
Can I utilize my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Many modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. This means you don’t have to put huge headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. Instead, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
This results in an easier process and a higher quality sound.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So if you believe your hearing may be on the way out, or you’re worried about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.