There is no better thing than a book to help you become sustainably smarter and well-rounded. Books train your mind and they are a means to become educated in ways that can enhance your overall wellbeing. But, is it possible that listening to books is as good for your brain as reading?
Books are indeed a wonderful thing, but not everyone likes to read or can read. Many will argue that the act of reading enhances deeper learning and retention of information. However, some people have trouble with reading due to word comprehension. Some people have vision problems. Others have trouble reading due to dyslexia. Some people, like me, find it too difficult to simply sit down quietly for a moment to indulge in the pleasure of reading.
After Thomas Edison created the first spoken word phonograph record in 1877, he predicted technology might one day allow books to be listened to “with great profit and amusement by the lady or gentleman whose eyes and hands may be otherwise employed.” He was right, according to Matthew Rubery, author of “The Untold History of the Talking Book”. Audiobooks are wonderful when we are driving or walking or doing anything where are hands are occupied, but the question remains, is listening to books is as good for your brain as reading?
In Amy Sach’s blog on Chirp, she lists five reasons why audiobooks may be better for the brain than reading:
Audiobooks are listened to on your smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and desktop or laptop. How you listen to an audiobook depends on which apps can be downloaded on to your device. Apple and Android devices allow access to virtually every audiobook app. There are several audiobook services out there. Some are free and some are subscription based. Most of the subscription based apps allow a free trial to see if you can find all of the types of books you would like to listen to. Here is a list of the most commonly known services and things to know before trying them.
Amazon’s Audible offers audiobooks on virtually any device with the Audible app. You can access audiobooks through one-time purchases or a monthly subscription. The available titles is seemingly endless. Audible offers two main types of memberships — Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus — each with a 30-day trial membership. The Audible Plus trial membership gives you 30 days of free access, after which the monthly subscription rate kicks in. During those 30 days, you can listen to podcasts, meditation programs, sleep tracks and audiobooks, plus access Audible Original content. Or you can opt for the Audible Premium Plus trial membership, which allows you to select from the same group of titles as well as choose and keep one title a month from Audible’s entire catalog. An Audible Premium Plus membership also gives you 30% off any additional premium titles you may want to buy. An Audible subscription also makes a wonderful gift.
Scribd books, audiobooks and magazines offers an unlimited subscription to 1 million-plus e-books and over 200,000 audiobooks, and it’s available on virtually any device with the Scribd app. The company recently introduced Scribd Perks, which gives you complimentary access to premium services with partner companies like Peak Pro and FarFaria with your subscription. You don’t have the option to buy titles here but may not need it, considering the large selection. Scribd offers a 30-day free trial, giving you access to its entire catalog of e-books, audiobooks, sheet music, podcasts, magazines and more, with the ability to cancel anytime. After the 30-day trial, the monthly membership charges begins.
Apple Books sells audiobooks individually instead of offering a subscription plan. The app is user-friendly. You can browse the bookstore for what you’d like to listen to and keep track of your history. The library isn’t as large as Audible’s however and the price for each title varies. Apple offers special discounts, and sometimes a few books are free. If you are an avid listener of audiobooks, this option may be a little pricey, and a subscription might be a better option.
Other audiobooks options
So, is listening to books as good for your brain as reading? Researchers say yes, giving us all the more reason to click on a audiobook and go for a walk or expand your mind while doing chores. If you find it hard to sit down with an actual book, listening to one is an amazing way to get still those neurons firing!
“The more that you read [listen], the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
(Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!)