Back in the old days they were known as “books-on-tape”. Of course, that was well before CDs, much less 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 when you were a kid and a teacher or parent read to you. You can connect with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
As it turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to accomplish some auditory training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds complicated and an awful lot like school.
Auditory training is a special type of listening, created to help you enhance your ability to process, perceive, and interpret sounds (medically known as “auditory information”). One of the principal uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new 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 your brain will have to cope with a huge increase of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. When this occurs, 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. Also, for individuals who are dealing with auditory processing disorders or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful tool.
Think of it like this: It’s not really that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better understand what you hear.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, people have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound signifies something. 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: Hearing speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing entirely. When you follow along with the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice differentiating speech. Your brain needs practice connecting words to concepts, and helping those concepts remain rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your day-to-day life.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get accustomed to hearing and understanding speech again. But you also have a little more control than you would during a normal conversation. You can listen to sentences as many times as you need to in order to distinguish them. It’s the perfect way to practice understanding words!
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to an entire conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than just the hearing part. Those with hearing loss often also suffer from social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a little out of practice. Audiobooks can help you get a handle on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication much easier!
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food at that restaurant is sumptuous. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is definitely recommended. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt more quickly to the new auditory inputs. In essence, it’s a great way to strengthen your auditory training. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also great because they are pretty easy to get right now. 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.
And there are also podcasts on just about 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 utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
A wide variety of modern hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your tv, and your speakers, can be connected with your hearing aids. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Instead, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.
This creates a simpler process and a better quality sound.
Consult 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.