In the past they were called “books-on-tape”. Of course, that was long before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s kind of like when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting story, and experience ideas you were never aware of. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass time and enrich your mind.
And they’re also an ideal tool for audio training.
What’s auditory training?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
Auditory training is a special type of listening, created to help you increase your ability to process, comprehend, and decipher sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We often discuss auditory training from the perspective of getting accustomed to a pair of hearing aids.
Because neglected hearing loss can cause your hearing to get used to a quieter environment and your brain can get out of practice. So your brain will need to cope with a big increase of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. When this occurs, your brain will find it difficult, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. As a result, auditory training frequently becomes a helpful exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for individuals with language learning difficulties or auditory processing disorders).
Another perspective: It’s not so much that audiobooks can improve your hearing, it’s that they can help you better distinguish what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. Humans have a fairly complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound you hear has some meaning. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. The concept 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 pair of hearing aids.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in a number of different ways, including the following:
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending somebody else’s speech. During normal conversations, however, you will have far less control than you get with an audiobook. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. It’s a great way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than only the hearing part. Individuals with hearing loss frequently also suffer from social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a little rusty. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication much easier!
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. Maybe it’s been some time since you’ve been able to participate in a full conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, understanding it is another thing entirely. When you follow 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.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to increase their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Maybe 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
WE recommend that, as you listen to your audiobook, you also read along with a physical copy of the book as well. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic connections more robust. In essence, it’s the perfect way to bolster your auditory training. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, including Amazon. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced simultaneously.
Can I use my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Many modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. Meaning, 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 need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
You’ll now get superior sound quality and increased convenience.
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 accustomed to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.