Back in the old days they were called “books-on-tape”. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. Nowadays, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a far better name).
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s sort of like having someone read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s just that). You can connect with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass time and enhance your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a great way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized form of listening, developed to help you enhance your ability to process, perceive, and interpret sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the main uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new 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 your brain will need to cope with a huge increase 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 normally does (at least, not at first). Auditory training can be a useful tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also useful for those with language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t necessarily 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 created to do. People have a rather complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound signifies something. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain become accustomed to hearing and comprehending again.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and comprehending speech again. During typical conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you get with an audiobook. 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 a little help from your audiobook pals. Maybe it’s been some time since you’ve been able to engage in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids. You might need some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than only the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring on social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much smoother!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps those potatoes look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends to the bar will really exacerbate your problems with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! Audiobooks help you practice processing and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain needs practice joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your everyday life.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is definitely advisable. 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 adventure. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can easily purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And there are also podcasts on just about every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind simultaneously!
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
A wide variety of 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 need to place huge headphones over your hearing aids just to play an audiobook. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to a simpler process and a higher quality sound.
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 believe you may be experiencing hearing loss.