An illustration of a young woman with headphones plugged into a book

Better Hearing Is a Process, Not an Event

When you get hearing devices, your hearing improves dramatically. But there’s still plenty of fine-tuning to do.

That’s why an experienced hearing care professional schedules follow-ups. As you encounter different environments in your life, you’ll notice sounds that don’t seem quite right. At your follow-ups, your provider uses your feedback to customize your hearing aid settings even more to your unique needs.

You can take charge of encountering new sounds by using at-home tools — enter the humble audiobook.


Audiobooks Are a Perfect Complement to Hearing Aids

When someone speaks to you, your brain (among other things) targets the voice, concentrates on it, ignores background noise, and tries to match the sounds to words in your memory.

If you’ve had hearing loss for a long time, you’ve missed certain words — or heard them incorrectly — for years. When you get hearing aids, your brain needs to adjust to hearing them again.

With audiobooks, you can focus entirely on the words being spoken. You can practice listening without the issues that arise during a conversation, such as background noise.

Plus, you can rewind!


Using an Audiobook to Adjust to Hearing Aids

Head to your local library

Don’t worry — acquiring audiobooks isn’t a high-cost solution. They’re as close and accessible as your local library.

Checking out audiobooks from your local library is a great way to unlock a world of literary adventures without breaking the bank. Not only are library audiobooks free, but they also offer a broad range of titles to suit every taste and interest. Whether you’re into gripping thrillers, heartwarming romances, or insightful nonfiction, your local library likely has a huge catalog waiting to be explored.

Borrowing audiobooks digitally means you can enjoy them anytime, anywhere, making it convenient for even the busiest of schedules. Utilizing your local library doesn’t just benefit you — it benefits your entire community. By using your library’s audiobook collection, you’re supporting your community and promoting access to literature for everyone. It’s a win-win!

Grab the CD version if you prefer that format. For a mobile experience, check with your library which app you can use to check out and download their audiobooks through there. Some hearing aids even allow you to stream to them directly via Bluetooth!

People at all listening levels can benefit — if you have a cochlear implant, ask your provider for the best way to train using audiobooks.


To begin with, stick to the familiar

Audiobooks let you focus on a single voice before jumping into real-life, two-way conversations. How better to start than with a book you’re already familiar with, eh?

Rereading books can feel like getting back into your bed after a long day at work. Each familiar page holds fond memories and the reassurance of a trusted friend. Hidden in the pages of a well-loved story is a kind of solace in the predictability of its words, and the familiarity of its characters. It’s like revisiting an old photo album, where each shot brings a sense of nostalgia.

When you reread, you can unearth new layers of depth and meaning, discovering things you may have overlooked the first time around. In an uncertain world, the familiarity of a book provides a sanctuary of stability and reassurance. It’s a reminder that there will always be a safe haven within the pages of a favorite story. To start with:

  • Choose a book you own a copy of in print or e-book format, and follow along with the narrator — this helps your brain process the heard speech.
  • Listening like this is tiring — keep it short to begin with, and only practice for 20 to 30 minutes at first.
  • Library apps usually offer a sample to listen to — take advantage of it to make sure you’re comfortable with the narrator’s voice.
  • Listen in a room with minimal background noise.


Branch out when you’re comfortable

Shaking up your routine is like giving your brain a breath of fresh air — it invigorates, stimulates, and is essential for growth. When you fall into the trap of monotony, your brain becomes complacent, operating on autopilot and failing to stretch its creative muscles. However, introducing something new into your schedule sparks a flurry of neural activity, challenging your cognitive processes and making you more adaptable.

Whether it’s trying a new hobby, taking a different route to work, or simply breaking away from the familiar, these disruptions force our brains to make new connections, creating cognitive flexibility and problem-solving skills. When you embrace change, you keep your mind agile and alert, and open yourself up to a world of possibilities and opportunities for growth. So, dare to break free of routine and watch as your brain thrives.

Changing different aspects of your listening experience will challenge your brain in healthy, helpful ways. It also provides helpful feedback for you to bring to your provider.

When you feel comfortable, try challenging yourself more:

  • If you really like the book, listen to it again without reading along.
  • Ready for another book? Choose one you’ve read before, but don’t follow along with the text.
  • If your first book was narrated by a man, choose a woman narrator for the second.
  • For every new book, change something — switch from fiction to nonfiction, choose a narrator with an accent, or increase the amount of background noise in your environment.


Have Fun With It

You’ll be learning how to make the most of your new hearing aids regardless — why not enjoy books you’ve been meaning to read? Plus, you can choose books that pleasurably stretch your listening skills.

Besides, it’s also the perfect excuse to read those guilty pleasures.

When you’re ready to move beyond audiobooks in your better-hearing journey, contact your audiologist — they’ll be more than happy to help you push your hearing skills even further!

Got Questions?

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