It’s easy to notice how your body ages over time. You develop wrinkles. Your hair turns gray (or falls out). Your knees begin to be a little more sore. Your skin gets a little droopy in places. Perhaps your eyesight and your hearing both start to diminish a bit. These indicators are difficult to miss.
But it’s more difficult to see how aging impacts your mind. You may find that you’re having to note important events on the calendar because you’re having trouble with your memory. Perhaps you find yourself spacing out more and missing significant events. But unfortunately, you may not even detect this slow onset. And that hearing decline can be worsened by the psychological effects.
As you age, there are, fortunately, some exercises you can do to help your brain remain clear. Even better, these exercises can be utterly enjoyable!
What’s the link between hearing and mental cognition
There are numerous reasons why individuals will gradually lose their hearing as they age. The risk of cognitive decline will then increase. So, why does loss of hearing increase the chances of cognitive decline? Research reveals several hidden risks of hearing loss.
- There can be atrophy of the portion of the brain that processes sound when somebody has neglected hearing loss. The brain may assign some resources, but overall, this is not very good for mental health.
- A feeling of social separation is often the outcome of neglected hearing loss. This isolation means you’re speaking less, interacting less, and spending more time by yourself, and your cognition can suffer as a result.
- Mental health problems and depression can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. And having these mental health concerns can increase the corresponding danger of cognitive decline.
So is dementia the result of hearing loss? Well, not directly. But neglected hearing loss can increase your risk of cognitive decline, up to and including dementia. Managing your hearing loss can significantly limit those risks. And those risks can be decreased even more by enhancing your general brain function or cognition. A little preventative management can go a long way.
How to increase cognitive function
So how do you go about giving your brain the workout it needs to strengthen cognitive function? Well, like any other part of your body, the amount and type of exercise you do go a long way. So here are a few enjoyable ways to develop your brain and boost your sharpness.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables can be very rewarding all on its own (it’s also a tasty hobby). Your cognition can be enhanced with this unique combination of hard work and deep thinking. Here are some reasons why:
- Gardening releases serotonin which can ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- As you’re working, you will need to think about what you’re doing. You have to use planning skills, problem solving skills, and analyze the situation. This gives your brain a great deal of great practice.
- You get a little moderate physical activity. Improved blood flow is good for your brain and blood flow will be improved by moving buckets around and digging in the soil.
As an added bonus, you get healthy fruits and vegetables from your hobby. Of course, you can grow a lot of other things besides food (herbs, flowers cacti).
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts can be appreciated by anyone regardless of artistic ability. You can make a simple sculpture using popsicle sticks. Or perhaps you can make a really cool clay mug on a pottery wheel. It’s the process that matters with regard to exercising the brain, not as much the particular medium. Because your critical thinking abilities, imagination, and sense of aesthetics are cultivated by doing arts and crafts (sculpting, painting, building).
Here are a few reasons why getting involved in arts and crafts will strengthen cognition:
- You have to use numerous fine motor skills. Even if it seems like it’s happening automatically, a lot of work is being done by your nervous system and brain. That type of exercise can keep your mental functions healthier over the long haul.
- You need to process sensory input in real time and you will need to employ your imagination to do that. A lot of brain power is needed to achieve that. You can stimulate your imagination by engaging in these unique brain exercises.
- You have to think about what you’re doing while you do it. This type of real time thinking can help keep your mental processes limber and versatile.
Whether you get a paint-by-numbers kit or create your own original work of art, your talent level isn’t really relevant. The most relevant thing is keeping your mind sharp by stimulating your imagination.
There are a lot of ways that swimming can help you stay healthy. Plus, it’s always enjoyable to jump into the pool (particularly when it’s so sweltering hot outside). But swimming isn’t only good for your physical health, it also has mental health benefits.
Whenever you’re in the pool, you have to do a lot of thinking about spatial relations when you’re swimming. After all, you don’t want to collide with anyone else in the pool!
Your mind also needs to be aware of rhythms. When will you need to come up to breathe when you’re under water? Things like that. This is still an excellent mental exercise even if it’s going on in the background of your mind. And mental decline will progress more slowly when you participate in physical activity because it helps get more blood to the brain.
Spending some peaceful solo time with your mind. Meditation can help calm your thoughts (and calm your sympathetic nervous system too). These “mindfulness” meditation techniques are made to help you concentrate on your thinking. Meditation can help:
- Improve your attention span
- Help you learn better
- Improve your memory
You can become even more mindful of your mental faculties by getting involved in meditation.
It’s great for you to read! And it’s also really fun. A book can take you anywhere according to that old saying. In a book, you can travel anywhere, like outer space, the ancient world, or the bottom of the ocean. Consider all the brain power that goes into creating these imaginary landscapes, following a story, or conjuring characters. A huge portion of your brain is engaged when you’re reading. Reading isn’t possible without engaging your imagination and thinking a great deal.
As a result, reading is one of the most ideal ways to sharpen your thinking. You have to utilize your memory to keep an eye on the story, your imagination to picture what’s going on, and you get a sweet dose of serotonin when you complete your book!
What you read doesn’t really matter, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, so long as you spend some time each day reading and strengthening your brainpower! And, for the record, audiobooks are basically as good as reading with your eyes.
Improve your cognition by having your hearing loss treated
Disregarded hearing loss can raise your danger of mental decline, even if you do everything right. But if you don’t get your hearing loss treated, even if you do all of these things, it will still be a difficult fight.
When you do get your hearing treated (usually because of a hearing aid or two), all of these enjoyable brain exercises will help boost your cognition. Improving your memory, your thinking, and your social skills.
Are you suffering from hearing loss? Reconnect your life by contacting us today for a hearing test.