8 Mental and Physical Benefits of Audiobooks

Here are 8 ways audiobooks can boost your emotional and physical health—all you need to do is press play. Need some listening inspiration? Check out these bookseller-recommended audiobooks.

Audiobooks build crucial listening skills for children 

According to the Audio Publishers Association, audiobooks help “build and enhance vital literacy skills such as fluency, vocabulary, language acquisition, pronunciation, phonemic awareness, and comprehension—skills that often boost reading scores.” Need some audiobook recommendations for kids? Head to the Kids page.

Young girl looking at audiobook

Audiobooks help reduce negative thinking

Audiobooks have the power to boost our moods and disrupt negative thinking patterns. Psychology Today notes that for “those of us prone to anxiety and depression . . . listening to someone else read aloud can help by replacing negative thoughts with something else.”

Audiobooks have the same benefits of reading

Don’t let anyone tell you that listening to audiobooks is cheating. Discover noted that “in a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from the Gallant Lab at UC Berkeley scanned the brains of nine participants while they read and listened. . . Looking at the brain scans and data analysis, the researchers saw that the stories stimulated the same cognitive and emotional areas, regardless of their medium.”

Audiobooks help relax our eyes…

Most Americans spend over seven hours a day looking at digital screens, which can lead to blurred vision, eye strain, and long-term vision problems like nearsightedness. On top of that, studies have suggested that there’s a link between social media use and feelings of loneliness and depression—another reason to put an audiobook on and the phone down.

…which directly impacts our sleep

The blue light from screens is a disruption to our circadian rhythm, which makes nodding off at night difficult. Listening to an audiobook allows your eyes and mind to relax while ushering in a good night of sleep.

Audiobooks improve time management

Being able to work our brain and read books while doing tasks like driving, cleaning, or exercising is a win-win—and allows less satisfying chores to become more enjoyable, reducing stress.

Audiobooks help build literacy skills

The National Literacy Trust notes that “audiobooks can help develop reading skills, such as decoding and comprehension.”

Audiobooks immerse you in another world

Psychology Today cites audio as “one of the most intimate forms of media—listeners work together with the narrator and author to create mental pictures of situations and characters. Audiobooks can captivate the imagination, allowing listeners to create a whole world at once within and outside themselves.” Being able to escape our daily worries is a powerful tool that we can easily tap into through the wonder of audiobooks. (P. S. Need tips on making a cozy space for reading and listening? Check out this post on how to create the perfect book nook.)

audiobook on table

18 thoughts on “8 Mental and Physical Benefits of Audiobooks

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Thank you, Michelle. Coming up to 2000 narrations, now. I love hearing from listeners. Their comments are so important to me. We’re alone together all the time.

  2. Audiobooks are saving me right now. I’ve always loved my book club with women friends, but now my husband and I have a book club too. Long car rides, sure, but also morning or evening walks. Kids love being read to, and adults crave that comfort too. Especially now. I wrote about this in the June 1 Publishers Weekly Soapbox. I even tout Libro.fm. (My novel Speed of Life is an audiobook read by Kristin Condon.)

  3. So what are the 18 things one can do while listening to an audiobook?
    Multitasking blurs the line and makes us crazy?

  4. I have listened to audio books for 25 years. I started when I had a 35 mile commute and got tired of the sameness of the radio. As a quilter I was soon tuned in when sewing. I have made many, many quilts while listening to books. I had checked out audio books, 5 and 6 at a time from the library for many years. Covid put a crimp in my habit.

  5. I listen to audiobooks while doing laundry (especially while folding), and even while I’m at work doing tedious chores. It helps the time pass and I’m learning, too.

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