How Auditory Training Can be Elevated by AudioBooks

Books with headphones on a wooden table. Concept audiobook, technology, education, listen to books for auditory training.

We used to call them books-on-tape, once upon a time. Back then, of course, we didn’t even have CDs let alone streaming services. Today, they have a much better name; audiobooks.

An audiobook allows you to read a book by, well, listening to it. It’s kind of like having someone read a book aloud to you (okay, it’s just that). You’ll be able to discover new things, get lost in an engaging story, and explore ideas you never knew about. Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time and enrich your mind.

And they’re also a great tool for audio training.

Auditory training – what is it?

Wait, wait, wait, what’s this auditory training thing, you may ask? It sounds tedious like homework.

Auditory training is a special form of listening, created to help you enhance your ability to process, perceive, and interpret sounds (known medically as “auditory information”). One of the main uses of auditory training is to help people 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 when you get a new pair of hearing aids, your brain suddenly has to deal with an influx of additional information. In practice, this usually means that your brain can’t process those sounds as well as it normally does (at least, not at first). Consequently, auditory training frequently becomes a worthwhile exercise. (As a side note, auditory training is also worthwhile for people who have language learning challenges or auditory processing disorders).

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

What happens when I listen to audiobooks?

Helping your brain make sense of sound again is exactly what auditory training is designed to do. If you think about it, people have a very complicated relationship with noise. Every single sound means something. It’s a lot for your brain to process. So if you’re breaking in a new set of hearing aids, listening to audiobooks can help your brain get used to hearing and comprehending again.

Here are a number of ways audiobooks can help with auditory training:

  • Listening comprehension: Hearing speech is one thing, understanding 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 joining words to concepts, and helping those concepts stay rooted in your mind. In your day-to-day life, this will help you distinguish what people are saying to you.
  • Improvements in pronunciation: Sometimes, it isn’t just the hearing part that can need a little practice. Hearing loss can often bring on social isolation which can cause communication skills to atrophy. Audiobooks can make communication much easier by helping you get a handle on pronunciation.
  • Improvements of focus: You’ll be able to focus your attention longer, with a little help from your audiobook friends. After all, if you’re getting used to a new pair of hearing aids, it might have been a while since you last engaged in and listened to a full conversation. 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 understanding speech again. During normal conversations, however, you will have a lot less control than you will with an audiobook. You can rewind if you don’t understand something and listen to something over and over again. It’s the perfect way to practice understanding words!
  • A bigger vocabulary: Most people would love to increase their vocabulary. The more words you’re exposed to, the bigger your vocabulary will become. Let your stunning new words impress all of your friends. Perhaps that guy standing outside the bar looks innocuous, or your food at that restaurant is sumptuous. Either way, audiobooks can help you pick the right word for the right situation.

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 also. This will help make those linguistic associations 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. That’s because audiobooks complement hearing aids.

Audiobooks are also good because they are pretty easy to get these days. There’s an app called Audible which you can get a subscription to. A wide variety of online vendors sell them, including Amazon. Anywhere you find yourself, you can cue one up on your phone.

And you can also get podcasts on pretty much every topic in case you can’t find an audiobook you want to listen to. You can sharpen your hearing and improve your mind at the same time!

Can I listen to audiobooks with my hearing aids

Lots of contemporary hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled. Meaning, you can connect your hearing aids with your cellphone, your speakers, your tv, or any other Bluetooth-equipped 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.

This results in an easier process and a higher quality sound.

Ask us about how audiobooks can help with your auditory training

So if you believe your hearing may be starting to go, or you’re uneasy 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.