Back in the old days they were called “books-on-tape”. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs never mind streaming services. These days, people call them audiobooks (which, to be honest, is a much better name).
An audiobook allows you 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 exactly that). You can engage with new concepts, get swept up in a story, or learn something new. Listening to audiobooks while passing time will be a mind enriching experience.
And they’re also a great tool for audio training.
Auditory training – what is it?
So you’re most likely pretty interested about what exactly auditory training is. It sounds laborious like homework.
As a specialized form of listening, auditory training is created to give you a better ability to perceive, process, and distinguish sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the principal 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 get used to a quieter environment and your brain can get out of practice. So your brain will need to cope with a significant increase of new auditory information when you get new hearing aids. Practically, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not initially). Consequently, auditory training frequently becomes a useful exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also helpful for individuals with language learning difficulties or auditory processing conditions).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t really make you hear clearer, but they will help you better distinguish what you’re hearing.
When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?
Auditory training was designed to help your brain get accustomed to distinguishing sounds again. If you think about it, people have a really 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 number of ways audiobooks can assist with auditory training:
- A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? The more words you’re exposed to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Surprise your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Maybe that guy sitting outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
- Improvements in pronunciation: You’ll frequently 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 make communication a great deal easier by helping you get a grip on pronunciation.
- Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to perceive speech, it’s another to understand it! Audiobooks help you practice digesting and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain requires practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing linking those ideas to words. In your everyday life, this will help you understand what people are saying to you.
- Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to pay attention longer, with some help from your audiobook pals. Perhaps it’s been some time since you’ve been able to participate in a complete conversation, especially if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in remaining focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you gain real-time practice comprehending someone else’s speech. During typical conversations, however, you will have far less control than you will with an audiobook. 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!
Audiobooks as auditory aids
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is highly advisable. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain may adapt faster to the new auditory signals. It’s definitely a great way to enhance your auditory training experience. Because hearing aids are complemented by audiobooks.
Audiobooks are also great because they’re pretty easy to come by these days. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. You can instantly purchase them from Amazon or other online sellers. And you can listen to them at any time on your phone.
Also, 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 practically every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced together.
Can I use my hearing aids to listen to audiobooks?
Bluetooth functionality is a feature that comes with many modern hearing aids. This means you can connect your hearing aids with your phone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. With this, when you listen to an audiobook, you won’t have uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
You’ll now get better sound quality and greater convenience.
Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training
So if you think your hearing might be on the way out, or you’re concerned about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.