In the past they were called “books-on-tape”. Naturally, that was well before CDs, much less digital streaming. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s a bit like when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an enchanting story, and explore ideas you never knew about. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mentally 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 ask? It sounds complicated and a lot like school.
As a specialized kind of listening, auditory training is created to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the primary uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
Because untreated 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 deal with a significant influx 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 those who have language learning challenges or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t necessarily make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound you hear has some significance. Your brain has to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain become accustomed to hearing and comprehending again.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not just the hearing part that can need some practice. Hearing loss can often bring on social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to expand their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps those french fries look dubious, or you’re worried that bringing your friends to the bar will really exacerbate your issues with your boyfriend. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick 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. During normal conversations, however, you will have far less control than you will with an audiobook. You can listen to sentences as many times as you need to in order to distinguish them. This works really well for practicing following words.
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, understanding it is another thing entirely. Audiobooks help you practice digesting and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain requires practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing connecting those concepts to words. In your everyday life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with some help from your audiobook friends. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a full conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids. You may need some practice tuning in and staying focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is highly advisable. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio signals making those linguistic links more robust. It’s definitely a great way to enhance your auditory training experience. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
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, and that includes Amazon. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always listen to a podcast to get the same effect (and there are podcasts on just about every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced simultaneously.
Can I listen to audiobooks through my hearing aids
Many modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. Meaning, you can pair your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can utilize your hearing aids for this instead.
This leads to a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So come in and speak with us if you’re worried about having difficulty getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss.