In the past they were known as “books-on-tape”. Of course, that was long before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
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 precisely that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an engaging tale, and explore ideas you were never aware of. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass time and enrich your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re probably pretty curious about what exactly auditory training is. It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized form of listening, designed to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the perspective of getting used to a set of hearing aids.
Because untreated 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. Practically, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not at first). Consequently, auditory training often becomes a worthwhile exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for people with language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is precisely what auditory training is designed to do. People have a pretty complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound signifies something. Your brain has to do a lot of work. The concept is that audiobooks are an ideal way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids.
Here are a few 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 bit more control than you would during a regular old 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 pay attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new set of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last took part in and listened to a complete conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- 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. In your everyday life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than just the hearing part. Individuals who suffer with hearing loss frequently also deal with social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a bit rusty. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication much easier!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the bigger your vocabulary will become. Surprise your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food at that restaurant is sumptuous. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is absolutely advisable. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt faster to the new auditory inputs. It’s definitely a beneficial way to enhance your auditory training adventure. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also great because they are pretty easy to get these days. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. Many online vendors sell them, and that includes Amazon. Anyplace 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 pretty much every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced simultaneously.
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many modern hearing aids. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
This creates a simpler process and a higher quality sound.
Consult us about audiobooks
So if you believe your hearing might be on the way out, or you’re worried about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.