We used to call them books-on-tape, once upon a time. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, people call them audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a far better name).
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like having somebody read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s just that). You’ll be able to learn new things, get lost in an engaging tale, 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 an ideal tool for audio training.
What’s auditory training?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds tedious like homework.
Auditory training is a special form of listening, created to help you enhance your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We frequently discuss auditory training from the context of getting used to a pair of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have neglected hearing loss, your brain can slowly grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to being in a less noisy environment.) So when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an influx of additional information. Practically, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not at first). As a result, auditory training frequently becomes a worthwhile exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for individuals who have language learning difficulties or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t necessarily make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. People have a pretty complex relationship with noise if you really think about it. 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:
- 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 requires practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing connecting those concepts to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your daily life.
- Improvements of focus: With some help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and involved for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been some time since you’ve been able to engage in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and comprehending speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have much 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. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need some practice. Those that have hearing loss frequently also suffer from social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can make communication a great deal easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Maybe that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your dinner at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is definitely recommended. This will help make those linguistic associations stronger in your brain, and your brain could adapt more quickly to the new auditory inputs. In essence, it’s the perfect way to strengthen your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.
It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily purchase them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can listen to them anywhere on your phone.
And there are also 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 together.
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
A wide variety of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your tv, and your speakers, can be paired with your hearing aids. This means you don’t need to place cumbersome headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This creates a simpler process and a better 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 trouble getting used to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.