Back in the old days they were known as “books-on-tape”. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. Nowadays, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a far better name).
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s a bit like when you were younger and a parent or teacher read to you. You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an engaging tale, 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 great way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re probably pretty interested about what exactly auditory training is. It sounds laborious like homework.
As a specialized kind of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and comprehend sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the context of getting accustomed to a pair of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have neglected 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 have to cope with a substantial influx of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. Practically, 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. Also, for people who are coping with auditory processing conditions or have language learning difficulties, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is designed to do. People have a rather complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound you hear has some meaning. 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 number of ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and understanding speech again. But you also have a little more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to distinguish them. It’s the perfect way to practice understanding words!
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! When you follow the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice differentiating speech. Your brain needs practice connecting words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your everyday life.
- 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 participate in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than just the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a great deal easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to increase their vocabulary. The more words you’re subjected to, the bigger your vocabulary will become. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick the right word for the right situation.
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 inputs. In other words, it’s a great way to strengthen your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also nice because they are pretty easy to get right now. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, and that includes Amazon. Anyplace you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you particularly like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same experience (and there are podcasts on pretty much every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced together.
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
Many contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. So all of your Bluetooth-equipped devices, including your phone, your tv, and your speakers, can be paired with your hearing aids. This means you don’t have to place cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and greater convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and talk to us if you’re concerned about having trouble getting used to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.