Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Naturally, that was well before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. Nowadays, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s kind of like having someone read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s exactly that). You can connect with new ideas, get swept up in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass time and enrich your mind.
And they’re also a great tool for audio training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds tedious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized type of listening, designed to help you enhance your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the context of getting used to a pair 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 deal with an influx of additional information. In practice, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not initially). Auditory training can be a practical tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for those with language learning challenges or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain make sense of 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 single sound signifies something. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain become accustomed to hearing and comprehending again.
Here are a number of ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to comprehend it! When you follow along with the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain needs practice joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your everyday life.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to broaden their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your impressive 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.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and comprehending speech again. But you also have a bit 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 a great way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with some help from your audiobook friends. Maybe it’s been some time since you’ve been able to participate in a full conversation, especially if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not only the hearing part that can need a little practice. People who suffer with hearing loss frequently also suffer from social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a bit rusty. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much smoother!
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is definitely 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 experience. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also great because they’re pretty easy to come by these days. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can instantly purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can listen to 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 together.
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many modern hearing aids. This means you can pair your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. This means you don’t need to place huge headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. Rather, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and increased convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and talk to us if you’re worried about having difficulty getting used to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.