Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, way back when. Of course, that was long before CDs, much less 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 kind of like having someone read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s precisely that). You can engage with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are a wonderful way to pass the time and enrich your mind.
As it turns out, they’re also a fantastic way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re most likely rather curious about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds tedious like homework.
Auditory training is a special type of listening, designed to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the principal uses of auditory training is to help people 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 living in a quieter environment.) So your brain will need to deal with a significant increase of new auditory information when you get new hearing aids. When this happens, your brain will find it difficult, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a practical tool to help deal with this. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for individuals with language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).
Another perspective: It’s not really that audiobooks can improve your hearing, it’s that they can help you better understand what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is precisely what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, humans have a very complicated relationship with noise. Every sound signifies something. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain become accustomed to hearing and understanding again.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than just the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to understand it! Audiobooks help you practice processing and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain requires practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing joining those ideas to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your day-to-day life.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Surprise your friends by using 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: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice understanding somebody else’s speech. But you also have a little bit more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to understand them. This works quite well for practicing following words.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook friends. Perhaps it’s been some time since you’ve been able to take part in a full conversation, especially if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
WE suggest that, as you enjoy your audiobook, you also read along with a physical copy of the book as well. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt faster to the new auditory inputs. In essence, it’s a great way to bolster your auditory training. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. Many online vendors sell them, including Amazon. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you particularly like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same experience (and there are podcasts on just about every topic). You can sharpen your hearing and improve your mind simultaneously!
Can I utilize my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Lots of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
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 difficulty getting used to your hearing aids or if you believe you may be experiencing hearing loss.