If you have not yet ventured into the realm of audiobooks because of pre-held reservations about it not being the apt way of consuming a book, think again!
If you didn’t know already, audiobooks have been around since 1932, since the establishment of a recording studio by The American Foundation for the Blind that recorded books on vinyl records. Since then, audiobooks have been widely available although it may not have offered as wide of an assortment of literature as it does today. It was only in the last couple of years with platforms like Audible (fun fact, Audible was established in 1995) that the term audiobook became a household name.
We are a part of a world that leans on convenience, and audiobooks provide just that. There has been plenty of discourse over the usefulness of the medium… Whether audiobooks are as good as the traditional way of reading? How do our brains comprehend these two ways of absorbing literature? Does listening to an audiobook make us less astute than reading a book or is it the other way around? Let’s look at the positives first.
Comprehending and Learning New Words
When you listen to a book being read to you, you are able to gauge the various ways in which words are articulated, its tone as well as its context and application, which is sometimes hard to do with a physical book.
Lets Your Imagination Run Wild
A study conducted by the Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behaviour concluded that our brains are more likely to create vivid visuals when we listen to a story in contrast to when we read it. This is because the onus of reading is upon the narrator of the audiobook which leaves room for our brains to focus on creating a picture of what we hear.
Attaching Deeper Meaning to Words and Phrases
When reading a book, there are a lot of processes at work to aid in the comprehension of the text we read. This involves deriving meaning from the words, imagining what the narrator sounds like, and creating the setting of the scene being described. In case we miss out on any one of these, there’s always the option to go back to words or sentences and re-read them. Since this is not possible with audiobooks, unless you rewind the story (let’s face it, it’s more trouble), our brain is then geared to immediately extract profound meaning in what we hear.
An Option for Reluctant Readers and those with Disabilities
Audiobooks are great for inculcating a love for books amongst young children. There is a reason why kids who are read to at a very young age develop healthy reading habits at a later point in life. They are also great for anyone who is visually impaired, dyslexic or averse to reading books in the traditional format. It allows them to focus on and easily comprehend words because the main job of reading is taken care of by the narrator.