Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, once upon a time. Back then, obviously, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a far better name).
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind of like when you were a kid and a parent or teacher read to you. You can connect with new ideas, get swept away in a story, or discover something new. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mentally enriching experience.
And they’re also a great tool for audio training.
Auditory training – what is it?
So you’re probably rather interested about exactly what auditory training is. It sounds complicated and an awful lot like school.
Auditory training is a special type of listening, developed to help you enhance your ability to process, comprehend, and interpret sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the main uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
That’s because when you have neglected hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become used to living in a quieter environment.) So when you get a new set of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to cope with an increase of additional information. In practice, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not initially). Consequently, auditory training often becomes a helpful exercise. Also, for people who are coping with auditory processing conditions 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 understand what you hear.
What happens when I listen to audiobooks?
Helping your brain distinguish sound again is precisely what auditory training is designed to do. Humans have a rather complicated relationship with noise if you really think about it. Every single sound you hear has some meaning. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. So if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain get used to hearing and comprehending again.
Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in a few different ways, including the following:
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice understanding somebody else’s speech. But you also have a bit more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can rewind if you can’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. This works quite well for practicing following words.
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and engaged for longer periods of time. After all, if you’re getting accustomed to a new pair of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to an entire conversation. You might need some practice tuning in and remaining focused, and audiobooks can help you with that.
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? Your vocabulary will get bigger as you’re exposed to more words. Impress your friends by using amazingly apt words. 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. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words ready for any situation.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive 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 needs practice connecting words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. In your daily life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need some practice. Individuals who suffer with hearing loss often also deal with social isolation, and that can leave their communication skills a little rusty. Audiobooks can make communication a great deal easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
Audiobooks as auditory aids
WE recommend that, as you listen to your audiobook, you read along with a physical copy of the book as well. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain could adapt faster to the new auditory signals. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training experience. 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 purchase them from Amazon or other online sellers. Anyplace you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.
Plus, if you can’t find an audiobook you really like, you could always try listening 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 together.
Can I utilize my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Many contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be paired with your hearing aids. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly with 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 if you believe your hearing may be starting to go, or you’re uneasy about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.