Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Naturally, that was well before CDs, much less digital streaming. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you can listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s a bit like when you were younger and a parent or teacher read to you. You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an engaging tale, and experience ideas you were never aware of. Listening to audiobooks when you’re passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
As it turns out, they’re also a great way to achieve some auditory training.
What’s auditory training?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds complicated and an awful lot like school.
As a specialized kind of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and understand sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the main uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
Because untreated hearing loss can cause your hearing to become 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 suddenly has to deal with an increase of extra information. When this happens, your brain will find it hard, at first, to process all those new sounds as well as it should. Auditory training can be a useful tool to help deal with this. Also, for individuals who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Another perspective: It’s not really 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 make sense of sound again is precisely what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound you hear has some significance. Your brain needs 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 get used to hearing and understanding again.
Here are a few ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- 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 needs 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.
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll stay focused and engaged for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a complete conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids. You might 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 understanding somebody else’s speech. During normal conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you get with an audiobook. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. This works really well for practicing making out words.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need some practice. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. 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 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 concerned that bringing your friends along 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.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is definitely advisable. Your brain will adjust faster to new audio signals making those linguistic links stronger. In other words, it’s the perfect way to strengthen your auditory training. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily get them from Amazon or other online sellers. 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 try listening to a podcast to get the same experience (and there are podcasts on practically every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced together.
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many modern hearing aids. So all of your Bluetooth-equipped devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Instead, you can listen directly through your hearing aids.
This leads to an easier process and a better quality sound.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So come in and talk to us if you’re worried about having trouble getting used to your hearing aids or if you believe you may be experiencing hearing loss.