As your body gets older, it isn’t difficult to notice the changes. You develop wrinkles. Your hair turns gray (or falls out). Your knees begin to be a little more sore. Some sagging of the skin begins to happen in certain places. Perhaps you start to notice some fading of your eyesight and hearing. It’s pretty hard not to see these changes.
But the impact getting older has on the mind isn’t always so obvious. You might acknowledge that your memory isn’t as strong as it once was and that you have to start writing essential dates on your calendar. Perhaps you find yourself spacing out more and missing significant events. But unfortunately, you might not even detect this gradual onset. And that hearing decline can be worsened by the psychological impact.
Luckily, there are a few ways that you can exercise your brain to keep it sharp and healthy as you get older. And you might even have a little bit of 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. The risk of cognitive decline will then increase. So, why does loss of hearing increase the chances of mental decline? There are a number of silent risk factors according to research.
- When you have neglected hearing loss, the portion of your brain responsible for sound processing starts to atrophy. Sometimes, it’s put to other uses, but generally speaking, this isn’t great for your cognitive health.
- Untreated hearing loss can easily lead to a sense of social isolation. Due to this lack of social connection, you can start to detect cognitive lapses as you withdraw from the outside world.
- Mental health problems and depression can be the outcome of neglected hearing loss. And an associated chance of cognitive decline can be increased by these mental challenges.
So, can hearing loss turn into dementia? Well, indirectly. But mental decline, including dementia, will be more probable for someone with neglected hearing loss. Treating your hearing loss can considerably limit those risks. And, enhancing your overall brain health (known medically as “cognition”) can lessen those risks even more. A little preventative management can go a long way.
Increasing cognitive function
So how do you approach giving your brain the workout it needs to strengthen cognitive function? Well, the great news is that your brain is like any other part of the body: you can always achieve improvement, it simply requires a little exercise. So here are some enjoyable ways to develop your brain and increase your sharpness.
Growing your own vegetables and fruits can be exceptionally rewarding all on its own (it’s also a delicious hobby). A unique combination of deep thought and hard work, gardening can also increase your cognitive function. Here are several reasons why:
- Relief of anxiety and a little bit of serotonin. This can help keep mental health issues like depression and anxiety at bay.
- As you’re working, you will need to think about what you’re doing. You have to assess the situation using planning and problem solving skills.
- You get a bit of moderate physical exercise. Increased blood flow is good for your brain and blood flow will be increased by moving buckets around and digging in the soil.
The reality that you get healthy vegetables and fruits out of your garden is an added bonus. Of course, not all gardens have to be focused on food. You can grow flowers, wild grasses, cacti, or anything your green thumb wishes!
Arts and crafts
You don’t have to be artistically inclined to take pleasure in arts and crafts. Something as simple as a popsicle stick sculpture can be fun. Or perhaps you can make a nice clay mug on a pottery wheel. With regard to exercising your brain, the medium matters much less than the process. That’s because arts and crafts (painting, sculpting, building) cultivate your imagination, your critical thinking skills, and your sense of aesthetics.
Here are a number of reasons why doing arts and crafts will improve cognition:
- You need to make use of lots of fine motor skills. Even if it feels like it’s happening automatically, lots of work is being done by your nervous system and brain. Over the long run, your cognitive function will be healthier.
- You need to manage sensory input in real time and you will need to employ your imagination to do that. A lot of brain power is needed to accomplish that. You can activate your imagination by engaging in these unique brain exercises.
- You have to think about what you’re doing while you do it. You can help your cognitive process stay clear and flexible by participating in this type of real time thinking.
Your level of talent doesn’t really make a difference, whether you’re creating a work of art or doing a paint-by-numbers. What counts is that you’re utilizing your imagination and keeping your brain sharp.
Taking a swim can help keep you healthy in a lot of ways! Plus, a hot afternoon in the pool is always a great time. And while it’s clearly good for your physical health, there are some ways that swimming can also be good for your mental health.
Any time you’re in the pool, you need to think a lot about spatial relations when you’re swimming. After all, you don’t want to smash into anybody else in the pool!
You also have to think about your rhythms. How long can you stay underwater before it’s time to breathe? Things like that. This is still a good cognitive exercise even if it’s going on in the back of your brain. Plus, physical exercise of any sort can really help get blood to the brain pumping, and that can be good at helping to slow cognitive decline.
Just a little time for you and your mind. As your thoughts calm down, your sympathetic nervous system also calms down. Sometimes labeled mindfulness meditation, these practices are designed to help you concentrate on what you’re thinking. Meditation can help:
- Help you learn better
- Improve your memory
- Improve your attention span
You can become even more mindful of your mental faculties by getting involved in meditation.
It’s good for you to read! And even better than that, it’s really enjoyable. A book can take you anywhere according to that old saying. The bottom of the ocean, the ancient past, outer space, you can travel anywhere in a book. Think of all the brain power that is involved in creating these imaginary landscapes, keeping up with a story, or conjuring characters. This is how reading engages a huge part of your brain. Reading isn’t feasible without employing your imagination and thinking a great deal.
As a result, reading is one of the most ideal ways to sharpen your thoughts. You have to utilize your memory to monitor the story, your imagination to picture what’s going on, and you get a pleasant dose of serotonin when you finish your book!
Spend some time every day to develop your brain power by doing some reading, whether it’s fiction, science fiction, non-fiction, or whatever you enjoy. And, for the record, audiobooks are basically as effective as reading with your eyes.
Improve your cognition by having your hearing loss managed
Neglected hearing loss can increase your risk of cognitive decline, even if you do everything correctly. But if you don’t get your hearing loss treated, even if you do all of these things, it will still be an uphill battle.
When are able to have your hearing managed (usually thanks to a hearing aid or two), all of these enjoyable brain exercises will help increase your cognition. Improving your memory, your thinking, and your social skills.
Are you dealing with hearing loss? Call us today to schedule a hearing test and reconnect to life!