Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Of course, that was long before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. These days, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook gives you the ability 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’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an engaging story, and experience ideas you never knew about. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
And they’re also a great tool for audio training.
What’s auditory training?
Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds tedious like homework.
Auditory training is a specialized form of listening, developed to help you improve your ability to process, perceive, and decipher sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). We frequently discuss auditory training from the perspective of getting accustomed 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 suddenly has to cope with an increase of additional information. Practically, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not at first). Auditory training can be a practical tool to help deal with this. (As a side note, auditory training is also useful for people 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?
Auditory training was designed to help your brain get used to distinguishing sounds again. People have a pretty complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound you hear has some significance. It’s a lot for your brain to process. The idea is that audiobooks are an excellent way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids.
Here are a number of ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re exposed to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Surprise your friends by using amazingly apt words. Maybe that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
- Listening comprehension: Perceiving speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing entirely. Audiobooks give you practice digesting and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain requires practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing joining those concepts to words. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your everyday life.
- 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 engage 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 remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll often need practice with more than only the hearing part. Hearing loss can often bring on social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can help you get a grip on the pronunciation of words, making general communication much easier!
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. During typical conversations, however, you will have much 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. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
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 may adapt more quickly to the new auditory inputs. In other words, it’s the perfect way to bolster your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, including Amazon. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced simultaneously.
Can I use my hearing aids to play audiobooks?
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many modern hearing aids. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your television, or any other Bluetooth-enabled 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.
This leads to a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Consult us about audiobooks
So come in and talk to us if you’re concerned about having difficulty getting accustomed to your hearing aids or if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.