Benefits of audio books for seniors

Portrait of modern senior man wearing headphones using smartphone sitting on sofa at home, copy space

People who love to read often get lost in a good book. Reading is a beloved hobby across the globe. But even avid readers cannot be immersed in books all of the time … or can they?

Reading while driving or engaging in other tasks is challenging or even dangerous, but audiobooks provide a way to enjoy a good story even when you’re otherwise engaged. Though dedicated readers may feel like they’re “cheating” by turning to audiobooks, these alternatives to traditional books can be beneficial in various applications, particularly among learning-disabled individuals or second-language learners.

In addition, audio books are an excellent solution for seniors struggling with failing eyesight, but who still love the challenge and pleasure of mastering new stories and information in a good book.

Audiobooks have grown in popularity. Data from the Audio Publishers Association indicates that audiobook sales reached $1.2 billion in 2019. That figure supports the notion that audiobooks can provide a host of benefits to people who can’t wait to begin their next page turner.

Improve punctuation and fluency: Audiobooks tend to be read by professional narrators or even well-known actors and actresses. Listening to audiobooks can help people learn proper pronunciation of words, how to read with punctuation in mind and also to take notice of speed, stresses and pauses that are important in developing reading fluency.

• Introduce new material: Reading Rockets, a resource for teaching reading, says audiobooks may introduce readers to books above their reading levels or to subjects they may not normally delve into.

• Expand vocabulary: Listening to audiobooks can introduce readers to new words and teach readers how to pronounce unfamiliar dialects or old literary styles.

• Experience vivid images: Audiobooks may evoke feelings of what it was to be read to as a child. According to Psychology Today, listeners can use the narrator’s words and form mental pictures of characters and the plot.

• Escapism: Rather than listening to music while commuting, exercising or doing work that doesn’t require much concentration, people can use audiobooks to stimulate their minds.

• Relax and relieve stress: Audiobooks can help people feel happy, thus improving their overall health. Relaxing voices and vivid scene descriptions can soothe a person and even help them get ready to sleep.

• Manage time more effectively: A notable benefit of audiobooks is that they can be utilized as people perform other tasks, helping to free up time throughout the rest of the day while still ensuring people get to enjoy a good story.

• Keep seniors’ mental skills sharp: Staying mentally active is key to health and wellbeing as we age. Books that stretch the imagination or challenge the reader with new ideas are an excellent way to stay engaged.

Audiobooks are available for check out at the Gunnison County Public Libraries. For more information call 970.641.8435 in Gunnison or 970.349.0348 in Crested Butte.

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