How Audiobooks Can be an Important Part of Auditory Training

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Books-on-tape was what we used to call them, way back when. Naturally, that was long before CDs, not to mention 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 connect with new concepts, get swept away in a story, or learn something new. Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time and enhance your mind.

As it turns out, they’re also a wonderful way to achieve some auditory training.

What’s auditory training?

Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds complicated and a lot like school.

Auditory training is a special type of listening, developed to help you improve your ability to process, comprehend, and decipher sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). We frequently talk about auditory training from the perspective of getting used to a pair of 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 less noisy environment.) So when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain abruptly has to cope with an influx of additional information. In practice, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it generally does (at least, not at first). Consequently, auditory training often becomes a worthwhile exercise. Also, for those who are coping with auditory processing conditions or have language learning challenges, auditory training can be a helpful tool.

Think of it like this: It’s not so much that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better distinguish what you hear.

When you listen to audiobooks, what happens?

Helping your brain make sense of sound again is precisely what auditory training is created to do. If you think about it, people have a really complicated relationship with noise. Every sound signifies something. Your brain has to do a lot of work. The idea is that audiobooks are an excellent way to help your brain get accustomed to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a brand-new pair of hearing aids.

Audiobooks can assist with your auditory training in various different ways, including the following:

  • Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! When you follow along with the story that the narrator is reading, you will get practice distinguishing speech. Your brain needs practice helping ideas take root in your mind by practicing linking those concepts to words. In your daily life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
  • 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 rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something as many times as you want to. This works quite well for practicing following words.
  • 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 handle on pronunciation.
  • 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 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: Who doesn’t want to improve their vocabulary? The more words you’re subjected to, the larger your vocabulary will become. Impress your friends by throwing out amazingly apt words. Perhaps those french fries look dubious, or you’re concerned that bringing your friends along to the bar will really exacerbate your problems with your boyfriend. With audiobooks, you’ll have just the right words queued up for any situation.

Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training

Reading along with a physical version of your audiobook is absolutely advisable. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio signals making those linguistic connections more robust. It’s definitely a good way to enhance your auditory training adventure. 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. Many online vendors sell them, including Amazon. And you can hear them anywhere on your phone.

Also, if you can’t find an audiobook you particularly like, you could always try listening 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 simultaneously.

Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids

Many modern 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 results in a simpler process and a higher quality sound.

Consult us about audiobooks

So if you think your hearing might be starting to go, or you’re worried about getting used to your hearing aids, consult us about audiobooks.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.