In the past they were known as “books-on-tape”. Naturally, that was well before CDs, much less 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 a lot like having somebody read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s precisely that). You can connect with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
And they’re also a great tool for audio training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds complicated and a lot like school.
Auditory training is a specialized form of listening, designed to help you increase your ability to process, comprehend, and decipher sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We often discuss auditory training from the context of getting used to a pair of hearing aids.
Because untreated hearing loss can cause your hearing to get used to a quieter environment and your brain can grow out of practice. So when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an increase of additional information. 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 those who are coping with auditory processing conditions or have language learning difficulties, auditory training can be a useful tool.
Think of it like this: It’s not so much that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better distinguish what you hear.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. People have a fairly complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every sound signifies something. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. The idea is that audiobooks are a great way to help your brain get used to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a brand-new set of hearing aids.
Here are a number of ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook pals. 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 an entire conversation. You may require some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending somebody else’s speech. During typical conversations, however, you will have far less control than you will with an audiobook. You can rewind if you can’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. It’s the perfect way to practice understanding words!
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive 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 helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing linking those concepts to words. In your day-to-day life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need some practice. Those with hearing loss often 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 easier!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve 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. Maybe that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
WE suggest that, as you enjoy your audiobook, you read along with a physical copy of the book also. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory inputs. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also good because they’re 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.
Plus, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always try listening 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 at the same time.
Can I utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Bluetooth functionality 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. This means you don’t need to put cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. Instead, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
This results in an easier process and a higher quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you think your hearing might be on the way out, or you’re uneasy about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, consult us about audiobooks.