Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, way back when. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like when you were a kid and a parent or teacher read to you. You can connect with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
As it turns out, they’re also a great way to accomplish some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? 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 distinguish sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the primary uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
That’s because when you have neglected hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to being in a less noisy environment.) So your brain will need to cope with a substantial increase of new auditory information 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). As a result, auditory training often becomes a worthwhile exercise. Also, for people who are dealing with auditory processing conditions or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Another perspective: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is exactly what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, people have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound you hear has some significance. It’s a lot for your brain to absorb. The concept is that audiobooks are an ideal way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, particularly if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in a number of different ways, including the following:
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to understand it! When you follow along with the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain needs practice linking 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 in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not only the hearing part that can need some practice. Hearing loss can often bring on social isolation which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and involved for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids, it may have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to a full conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to increase their vocabulary. The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Impress your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps that guy standing 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 used to hearing and understanding speech again. But you also have a bit more control than you would during a normal conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to understand them. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
WE recommend that, as you listen to your audiobook, you also read along with a physical copy of the book too. Your brain will adjust faster to new audio signals making those linguistic connections stronger. In essence, it’s the perfect way to bolster your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also nice because they are pretty easy to come by right now. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. Many online vendors sell them, including Amazon. And you can listen to them at any time on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on pretty much every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. You can improve your hearing and enrich your mind simultaneously!
Can I listen to audiobooks through my hearing aids
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many contemporary hearing aids. This means you can pair your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-equipped device. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can use 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 speak with us if you’re concerned about having trouble getting used to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.