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We used to call them books-on-tape, way back when. Of course, that was well before CDs, much less digital streaming. These days, people refer to them as audiobooks (which, we won’t lie, is a far better name).

With an audiobook, you can listen to the book being read by a narrator. It’s sort of like having someone read a book out loud to you (okay, it’s just that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an enchanting story, and experience ideas you were never aware of. Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time and enhance your mind.

Turns out, they’re also a great way to accomplish some auditory training.

Auditory training – what is it?

Hold on, what’s this auditory training thing, you ask? It sounds tedious like homework.

As a specialized form of listening, auditory training is created to give you a stronger ability to perceive, process, and comprehend sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the main uses of auditory training is to help individuals learn to hear with their new hearing aids.

That’s because when you have untreated hearing loss, your brain can slowly grow out of practice. (Your auditory centers become accustomed to living in a quieter environment.) So your brain will have to deal with a significant influx of new auditory signals when you get new hearing aids. In practice, this often means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not at first). Auditory training can be a useful tool to help handle this. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for individuals who have language learning difficulties or auditory processing disorders).

Another perspective: It’s not really that audiobooks can sharpen your hearing, it’s that they can help you better distinguish what you hear.

What happens when I listen to audiobooks?

Auditory training was designed to help your brain get accustomed to distinguishing sounds again. If you think about it, humans have a very complex relationship with noise. Every sound signifies something. It’s a lot for your brain to manage. The concept is that audiobooks are an ideal way to help your brain get used to that process again, especially if you’re breaking in a new pair of hearing aids.

Audiobooks can help with your auditory training in a number of different ways, including the following:

  • Improvements in pronunciation: In some cases, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need a little practice. Hearing loss can often bring about social solitude which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can help you get a grip on the pronunciation of words, making basic communication a lot smoother!
  • Perception of speech: When you listen to an audiobook, you get real-time practice comprehending somebody else’s speech. But you also have a bit more control than you would during a normal conversation. You can listen to sentences numerous times in order to distinguish them. It’s the perfect way to practice understanding words!
  • Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with some help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting used to a new set of hearing aids, it may have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to an entire conversation. An audiobook can give you some practice in staying focused and tuned in.
  • A bigger vocabulary: Who doesn’t want to increase 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 those french fries look dubious, or you’re concerned that bringing your friends to the bar will really exacerbate your issues with your boyfriend. Either way, audiobooks can help you find the right word for the right situation.
  • Listening comprehension: It’s one thing to hear speech, it’s another to understand it! Audiobooks give you practice digesting and understanding what is being spoken about. Your brain needs practice linking words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. This can help you follow conversations more closely in your daily life.

Using audiobooks as aids to auditory training

WE recommend that, as you listen to your audiobook, you read along with a physical copy of the book too. Your brain will adapt faster to new audio inputs making those linguistic connections stronger. It’s definitely a great way to enhance your auditory training experience. Because hearing aids are enhanced by audiobooks.

It’s also very easy to get thousands of audiobooks. You can subscribe to them on an app called Audible. You can easily get them from Amazon or other online sellers. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.

And there are also podcasts on nearly every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you feel like listening to. You can sharpen your hearing and improve your mind at the same time!

Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids

A wide variety of modern hearing aids are Bluetooth equipped. So all of your Bluetooth-enabled devices, including your phone, your tv, and your speakers, can be paired with your hearing aids. With this, when you play an audiobook, you won’t need uncomfortable headphones over your hearing aids. Rather, you can listen directly with your hearing aids.

This creates a simpler process and a higher quality sound.

Consult us about audiobooks

So if you think your hearing may be starting to go, or you’re concerned about getting used to your hearing aids, talk to us about audiobooks.

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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.