As your body ages, it’s not hard to detect the changes. Your skin starts to develop some wrinkles. You begin to lose your hair or it turns grey. Your knees begin to hurt a little bit more. Some sagging of the skin starts to occur in certain places. Perhaps you start to notice some fading of your eyesight and hearing. These signs are tough to miss.
But the impact getting older has on the mind isn’t always so evident. You may observe that your memory isn’t as strong as it once was and that you need to begin noting essential dates on your calendar. Maybe you miss significant events or lose your train of thought more often. But unfortunately, you may not even notice this slow onset. And that hearing decline can be worsened by the psychological impact.
As you age, there are, luckily, some exercises you can do to help your brain remain sharp. Even better, these exercises can be downright fun!
What is the link between hearing and mental cognition
The majority of individuals will gradually lose their hearing as they get older (for a number of reasons). The risk of mental decline will then increase. So what is the link between cognitive decline and hearing loss? There are several silent risk factors as revealed by research.
- When you have neglected hearing loss, the portion of your brain that processes sound begins to atrophy. The brain might reallocate some resources, but overall, this isn’t very good for mental health.
- Neglected hearing loss can easily lead to a sense of social separation. This isolation means you’re talking less, socializing less, and spending more time by yourself, and your cognition can suffer as a result.
- Mental health problems and depression can be the result of neglected hearing loss. And the corresponding risk of cognitive decline can be increased by these mental issues.
So, can hearing loss develop into dementia? Well, not directly. But cognitive decline, including dementia, will be more probable for a person with untreated hearing loss. Managing your hearing loss can significantly lessen those risks. And those risks can be decreased even more by enhancing your overall brain function or cognition. A little preventative management can go a long way.
How to improve cognitive function
So how do you go about giving your brain the workout it needs to strengthen cognitive function? Well, the good news is that your brain is like any other part of the body: you can always accomplish improvement, it simply calls for a little exercise. So increase your brain’s sharpness by doing some of these fun activities.
Cultivating your own vegetables and fruits is a delicious and satisfying hobby. Your cognition can be enhanced with this unique combination of hard work and deep thinking. Here are some reasons why:
- Anxiety relief and a little bit of serotonin. This can help keep mental health problems like depression and anxiety at bay.
- You need to think about what you’re doing when you’re doing it. You have to apply planning skills, problem solving skills, and examine the situation. This gives your brain a lot of great practice.
- You get a bit of modest physical exercise. Whether it’s digging around in the ground or moving containers of soil around, the exercise you get when gardening is enough to get your blood pumping, and that’s healthy for your brain.
As an added bonus, you get healthy vegetables and fruits from your hobby. Of course, not all gardens have to be focused on food. You can grow flowers, wild grasses, cacti, or anything your green thumb wants!
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts can be enjoyed by anybody regardless of artistic ability. Something like a simple popsicle stick sculpture can be fun. Or you can take up pottery and make an awesome clay pot! When it comes 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.
Arts and crafts can be good for your cognitive ability because:
- You need to make use of many 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. Over the long run, your cognitive function will be healthier.
- You have to use your imagination and process sensory inputs in real time. A lot of brain power is needed to accomplish that. You can stimulate your imagination by engaging in these unique brain exercises.
- You have to stay focused on what you’re doing while you do it. This type of real time thinking can help keep your mental processes limber and flexible.
Whether you pick up a paint-by-numbers kit or create your own original work of art, your talent level isn’t really relevant. The most important thing is keeping your mind sharp by engaging your imagination.
Going for a swim can help you stay healthy in a number of ways! Plus, a hot day in the pool is always a great time. But swimming isn’t only good for your physical health, it also has mental health advantages.
Your brain has to be engaged in things like spatial awareness when you’re swimming in the pool. Obviously, colliding with somebody else in the pool wouldn’t be safe.
You also have to think about your rhythms. How long can you be underwater before you need to breathe? That sort of thing. Even if this type of thinking is going on in the background of your mind, it’s still excellent mental exercise. And cognitive decline will progress more slowly when you get involved in physical activity because it helps get more blood to the brain.
Spending some quiet alone time with your mind. Meditation can help calm your thoughts (and calm your sympathetic nervous system at the same time). These “mindfulness” meditation methods are made to help you focus on your thinking. Meditation can help:
- Improve your attention span
- Help you learn better
- Improve your memory
Put simply, meditation can help give you even more awareness of your mental and cognitive faculties.
Reading is good for you! And it’s also quite enjoyable. There’s that old adage: a book can take you anywhere. In a book, you can travel everywhere, such as outer space, ancient Egypt, or the bottom of the ocean. Consider all the brain power that goes into generating these imaginary landscapes, following a story, or visualizing characters. In this way, reading activates a huge part of your brain. You’re forced to think a great deal and utilize your imagination when you read.
Consequently, reading is one of the most ideal ways to sharpen your thoughts. You have to use your memory to monitor the story, your imagination to visualize what’s happening, and you get a sweet dose of serotonin when you complete your book!
What you read doesn’t actually make a difference, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, so long as you take a little time every day reading and building your brainpower! And, for the record, audiobooks are essentially as effective as reading with your eyes.
Improve your cognition by getting your hearing loss addressed
Disregarded hearing loss can raise your danger of mental decline, even if you do everything correctly. But if you don’t have your hearing loss treated, even if you do all of these things, it will still be a difficult fight.
Your social skills, your thinking, and your memory and cognition will get better once you have your hearing loss dealt with (normally with hearing aids).
Is hearing loss an issue for you? Reconnect your life by calling us today for a hearing assessment.