It’s not difficult to notice how your body ages over time. Your skin begins to get some wrinkles. Your hair turns gray (or falls out). Your joints start to get stiff. Some drooping of the skin starts to happen in certain places. Perhaps your eyesight and your hearing both start to diminish a bit. These indicators are hard to miss.
But it’s more difficult to see how growing older affects your mind. You may observe that your memory isn’t as good as it used to be and that you have to start noting important dates on your calendar. Maybe you find yourself spacing out more and missing significant events. But regrettably, you may not even notice this slow onset. For those who have hearing loss, the psychological consequence can often worsen this decline.
Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can work out your brain to keep it clear and healthy as you get older. And you may even have some fun!
What is the connection between hearing and mental cognition
There are numerous reasons why people will gradually lose their hearing as they get older. This can lead to a higher risk of cognitive decline. So, why does hearing loss increase the danger of mental decline? There are several silent risk factors as revealed by research.
- There can be atrophy of the part of the brain that processes sound when someone has neglected hearing loss. Sometimes, it’s put to other uses, but in general, this is not very good for your mental health.
- A feeling of social separation is frequently the consequence of neglected hearing loss. Because of this lack of social interaction, you can begin to detect cognitive lapses as you withdraw from the outside world.
- Mental health issues and depression can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. And the corresponding risk of cognitive decline can be increased by these mental challenges.
So is dementia the result of hearing loss? Well, not directly. But mental decline, including dementia, will be more probable for an individual who has neglected hearing loss. Those risks, however, can be seriously lowered by getting hearing loss treated. And, boosting your overall brain health (known medically as “cognition”) can minimize those risks even more. Think of it as a little bit of preventative medicine.
How to enhance cognitive function
So, how can you be sure to increase your mental function and give your brain the workout it needs? Well, the great news is that your brain is the same as any other body part: you can always accomplish improvement, it simply calls for a little exercise. So here are a few enjoyable ways to develop your brain and boost your sharpness.
Growing your own vegetables and fruit is a delicious and gratifying hobby. A unique combination of deep thinking and hard work, gardening can also increase your cognitive function. Here are a few reasons why:
- As you’re working, you will have to think about what you’re doing. You have to utilize planning skills, problem solving skills, and analyze the situation. This gives your brain a lot of great practice.
- You get a bit of moderate physical activity. Improved blood flow is good for your brain and blood flow will be increased by moving buckets around and digging in the soil.
- Gardening releases serotonin which can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
As an added bonus, you get healthy vegetables and fruits from your hobby. Of course, you can grow lots of other things besides food (herbs, flowers cacti).
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts can be enjoyed by anyone no matter the artistic ability. Something like a simple popsicle stick sculpture can be fun. Or you can get started with pottery and make a cool clay pot! It’s the process that counts when it comes to exercising the brain, not so much the specific medium. That’s because arts and crafts (painting, sculpting, building) tap into your imagination, your critical thinking skills, and your sense of aesthetics.
Arts and crafts can be good for your cognitive ability because:
- You need to use lots of fine motor skills. And while that may feel automatic, your brain and nervous system are really doing lots of work. Over the long haul, your cognitive function will be healthier.
- You have to utilize your imagination and process sensory inputs in real time. A lot of brain power is needed to accomplish that. You can activate your imagination by participating in these unique brain exercises.
- You will need to keep your mind engaged in the task you’re doing. You can help your mental process remain clear and flexible by participating in this kind of real time thinking.
Your level of talent doesn’t really matter, whether you’re creating a work of art or working on a paint-by-numbers. What matters is that you’re making use of your imagination and keeping your mind sharp.
Going for a swim can help keep you healthy in a number of ways! Plus, it’s always fun to jump into the pool (especially when it’s so sweltering hot outside). But swimming isn’t just good for your physical health, it also has cognitive health benefits.
Whenever you’re in the pool, you need to do a lot of thinking about spatial relations when you’re swimming. Obviously, colliding with somebody else in the pool wouldn’t be safe.
You also have to pay attention to your rhythms. When will you need to come up for a breath of air when you’re under water? That kind of thing. This is still an excellent mental exercise even if it’s occurring in the background of your mind. And cognitive decline will advance more slowly when you take part in physical activity because it helps get more blood to the brain.
Just some time for you and your mind. As your thoughts become calm, your sympathetic nervous system also calms down. These “mindfulness” meditation practices are made to help you focus on your thinking. As a result, meditation can:
- Improve your memory
- Improve your attention span
- Help you learn better
You can become even more aware of your mental faculties by getting involved in meditation.
Reading is good for you! And even more than that, it’s fun. There’s that old adage: a book can take anywhere. The bottom of the ocean, the distant past, outer space, you can travel everywhere in a book. When you’re following along with a story, manifesting landscapes in your imagination, and mentally conjuring up characters, you’re using a lot of brain power. A huge portion of your brain is engaged when you’re reading. You’re forced to think a lot and utilize your imagination when you read.
Consequently, reading is one of the most ideal ways to sharpen your thinking. Imagination is needed to envision what’s going on, your memory to follow along with the plot, and when you complete the book, you get a satisfying dose of serotonin.
What you read doesn’t really matter, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, so long as you allocate time every day reading and building your brainpower! And, for the record, audiobooks are basically as good as reading with your eyes.
Improve your cognition by getting your hearing loss managed
Disregarded hearing loss can raise your risk of cognitive decline, even if you do everything correctly. Which means, even if you garden, swim, and read, you’ll still be fighting an uphill battle, unless you manage your hearing loss.
When you do get your hearing managed (usually thanks to a hearing aid or two), all of these fun brain exercises will help boost your cognition. Improving your memory, your thoughts, and your social skills.
Are you suffering from hearing loss? Reconnect your life by contacting us today for a hearing assessment.