5 Great Benefits Of Audiobooks For Adults And Kids

Learn how you and your family can benefit from listening to audiobooks. Many studies sugest that listening to an audiobook have the same benefits as reading an actual book and even more. So let's find out which aspects of audiobooks can improve your life.

Important studies

Audiobooks have been around for decades, and in our digital age, they’ve become readily available and often less expensive than printed books. With that in mind, it’s astonishing that 83% of adults say that they never listen to audiobooks​ (Smith, 2016). The same study found that 55% of people believe that “listening to a book is worse than having read it”. It seems pretty clear that people are still skeptical about audiobooks. However, a growing pile of evidence suggests that listening to audiobooks comes with real benefits. For example, a 2019 research study​ found that the human brain represents words the same way, regardless of whether you read them or listened to them (Deniz et al., 2019). In other words, when you listen to an audiobook, your brain creates meaning from the audio input just like it would with visual input when you read a physical book.

1. Improving basic literacy skills and expanding your vocabulary

That means that audiobooks have many of the same benefits as printed books, like improving basic literacy skills and expanding your vocabulary. But audiobooks have their own perks, too. For starters, they can be incredibly beneficial for people learning a language — after all, it’s hard to pick up native pronunciation just from words on a page. Absorbing information from audiobooks also helps you practice your active listening skills, which are essential for everyday life, and can improve your focus and memory. Additionally, listening to an audiobook could help you improve your reading accuracy when you need to read a physical book.

2. Helping kids learn to speak write and read

Since audiobooks help improve overall literacy (link to a study), they can be especially helpful for kids learning to read. Listening to a book being read helps children learn to associate words with mental pictures, which boosts comprehension and is a skill that they can then apply when they read on their own. Audiobooks also help kids develop a better understanding of word rhythm, sentence structure, and pacing, which are components of good speaking, writing, and reading. Additionally, audiobooks can make reading feel more fun and accessible for kids. When children first start to read, they spend a lot of their time sounding out words and much less time understanding and engaging with the story. This is often frustrating for a kid, and can lead to reading feeling more like a chore than playtime. The voices and sound effects in audiobooks make reading into an adventure and get kids excited about books, which makes them more likely to want to keep practicing their independent reading. Plus, just like printed books, audiobooks tell stories that stretch children’s imaginations and teach them about the world.

3. For people with special needs and dyslexia

What’s more, audiobooks make reading more accessible not just for kids, but for everybody. Many people have special needs which make reading printed books difficult or impossible, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to the information and entertainment that books provide. Audiobooks can be helpful for people with visual impediments — although books printed in Braille are available, they are typically much bulkier and more expensive than audiobooks or standard printed books, meaning that they’re not accessible to every visually impaired person. People with attention disorders can also benefit from audiobooks. Not everybody wants to or is able to sit still for long periods while reading a printed book, but audiobooks can be listened to anytime and anywhere, and let the reader move around as much as they like while listening to the story. Some people also find that it’s just easier to pay attention to spoken words rather than written words, especially when the audiobook uses character voices or other sound effects. Additionally, audiobooks are often important tools for people with learning handicaps such as dyslexia. People with dyslexia have average to above average language comprehension, but have difficulty reading written text. This can prevent them from learning information from physical books and may make it more difficult for them to keep up with their peers at school or work; audiobooks are a great solution for this and can help people with dyslexia or other learning disorders to succeed.

You don’t have to stick to nonfiction, either; being able to dive into fantasy realms or amazing space voyages on your daily commute just by popping some earbuds in could be an immense help with lowering stress, and allows you to relax during a time that would otherwise be boring or unproductive. The benefits don’t end with your commute, either — lowered stress levels can help you sleep more soundly, and some people may even choose to listen to a soothing audiobook to help themselves fall asleep.

4. Self improvement during long commute

Even if you do just fine with reading printed books, listening to audiobooks can help you make better use of your time. What if, instead of gritting your teeth through traffic or staring out the bus window, you could use your daily commute to learn and improve yourself? Good news, you can! There are a dazzling amount of fascinating nonfiction audiobooks available, in topics ranging from astronomy and engineering to sociology and history. With an audiobook on professional development or leadership skills, you could take your career to the next level; or you could put on an acclaimed self-help audiobook and find out how to improve your personal wellness and grow into the person you dream of being. The options are endless, but no matter what you choose, you’re bound to expand your knowledge and develop your personality.

5. Helps to stop wasting time on social media

During downtime, it can be tempting to reach for social media or turn on the TV, but these forms of media don’t often communicate much meaningful information and can be real time-wasters. What could your life look like if, instead of scrolling through your feed or flipping channels on the remote, you used that time to develop yourself and broaden your mindset through books? And you don’t have to lug around backpacks full of hardcover library books or force your eyes to concentrate on tiny printed words, either — self-improvement and learning is as easy as tapping a button on your phone and switching on an audiobook. All the incredible benefits of audiobooks are right at your fingertips, so what are you waiting for? Get listening and see who you can become.