In the past they were called “books-on-tape”. Of course, that was well before CDs, not to mention digital streaming. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s sort of like when you were younger and a teacher or parent read to you. You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting tale, and explore ideas you never knew about. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
And they’re also a terrific tool for audio training.
Auditory training – what is it?
Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds laborious like homework.
As a specialized form 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 principal uses of auditory training is to help people learn to hear with their new hearing aids.
Because neglected hearing loss can cause your hearing to get used to a quieter environment and your brain can get out of practice. So your brain will need to cope with a significant influx of new auditory information when you get new hearing aids. Practically, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not initially). Auditory training can be a practical tool to help deal with this. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for individuals who have language learning difficulties or auditory processing disorders).
Think of it like this: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better understand what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Helping your brain make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound signifies something. Your brain has to do a lot of work. The concept is that audiobooks are a great way to help your brain get used to that process again, particularly if you’re breaking in a brand-new pair of hearing aids.
Here are a number of ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:
- Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing completely. When you follow 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 stay rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your everyday life.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook pals. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been able to take part in a full conversation, particularly if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to expand their vocabulary. Your vocabulary will get stronger as you’re exposed to more words. Let your impressive new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your meal at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick the right word for the right situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently need practice with more than only the hearing part. Those with hearing loss frequently also deal with social isolation, and that can make their communication skills a bit out of practice. Audiobooks can make communication a lot easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- 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.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
WE recommend that, as you listen to your audiobook, you also 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 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.
It’s also really easy to get thousands of audiobooks. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can instantly get them from Amazon or other online vendors. And you can listen to them at any time on your phone.
And you can also get podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. You can improve your hearing and improve your mind at the same time!
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
Many contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your television, and your speakers, can be paired with your hearing aids. This means you don’t have to put huge headphones over your hearing aids just to listen to an audiobook. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This results in an easier process and a higher quality sound.
Talk to us about audiobooks
So if you believe your hearing might be starting to go, or you’re worried about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.