Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, way back when. Of course, that was well before CDs, much less digital streaming. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.
With an audiobook, you will listen to the book as it’s being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like when you were a kid and a parent or teacher read to you. You can engage with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are an excellent way to pass the time and enrich your mind.
And they’re also an ideal tool for audio training.
What’s auditory training?
So you’re most likely pretty interested about what exactly auditory training is. It sounds tedious like homework.
As a skilled form of listening, auditory training is designed to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and comprehend sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We often talk about auditory training from the perspective of getting accustomed to a set of hearing aids.
That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can gradually grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to living in a less noisy environment.) So when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to deal with an influx of extra information. When this happens, 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. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for people who have language learning difficulties or auditory processing disorders).
Another perspective: Audio books won’t necessarily 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 created to help your brain get used to making sense out of sounds again. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every single sound signifies something. Your brain needs to do a lot of work. The idea 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 assist with auditory training:
- Listening comprehension: Perceiving speech is one thing, comprehending it is another thing completely. Audiobooks give you practice processing and understanding what is being talked about. Your brain requires practice helping concepts take root in your mind by practicing linking those concepts to words. In your everyday life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
- Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it’s not just the hearing part that can need a little practice. 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!
- Improvements of focus: With a little help from your audiobook, you’ll remain focused and engaged for longer periods of time. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve been able to engage in a full conversation, particularly if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
- Perception of speech: Audiobooks will help you get used to hearing and comprehending speech again. But you also have a little more control than you would during a regular old conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to understand them. This works quite well for practicing making out words.
- A bigger vocabulary: Most individuals would love to broaden their vocabulary. The more words you’re subjected to, the bigger your vocabulary will become. Impress your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps those potatoes look dubious, or you’re concerned that bringing your friends along to the bar will really exacerbate your problems with your boyfriend. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training
Reading along with a physical copy of your audiobook is absolutely recommended. This will help make those linguistic connections stronger in your brain, and your brain could adapt faster to the new auditory inputs. In other words, it’s a great way to bolster your auditory training. That’s because audiobooks enhance hearing aids.
Audiobooks are also good because they’re pretty easy to come by these days. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily purchase them from Amazon or other online sellers. Anywhere 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 listen to a podcast to get the same experience (and there are podcasts on pretty much every topic). Your mind and your hearing can be enhanced at the same time.
Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids
Bluetooth capability is a feature that is included with many contemporary hearing aids. 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 play an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. You can use your hearing aids for this instead.
This creates a simpler 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 on the way out, or you’re worried about getting accustomed to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.