As your body gets older, it isn’t difficult to detect the changes. Your skin begins to develop some wrinkles. You start to lose your hair or it turns grey. Your knees start to be a little more sore. Some drooping of the skin begins to happen in certain places. Maybe your eyesight and your hearing both start to diminish a bit. These indicators are tough to miss.
But it’s harder to see how aging affects your mind. You may observe that your memory isn’t as good as it used to be and that you have to begin writing important dates on your calendar. Perhaps you find yourself spacing out more and missing significant events. But regrettably, you might not even detect this slow onset. And that hearing decline can be exacerbated by the psychological impact.
As you age, there are, fortunately, some exercises you can do to help your brain stay clear. And the good news is, these exercises can be downright fun!
The relationship between hearing and cognition
The majority of individuals will gradually lose their hearing as they age (for a number of reasons). The risk of cognitive decline will then increase. So what is the link between cognitive decline and hearing loss? Research points to several invisible risks of hearing loss.
- When you’re dealing with neglected hearing loss, the portion of your brain responsible for sound processing begins to atrophy. The brain might reallocate some resources, but in general, this isn’t very good for cognitive health.
- Untreated hearing loss can easily produce a sense of social separation. This isolation means you’re speaking less, interacting less, and spending more time on your own, and your cognition can suffer as a result.
- 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 develop into dementia? Well, indirectly. But untreated hearing loss can raise your risk of cognitive decline, up to and including dementia. Those risks, however, can be significantly decreased by getting hearing loss treated. And, boosting your overall brain health (known medically as “cognition”) can decrease those risks even more. A little preventative management can go a long way.
Improving cognitive function
So how do you accomplish giving your brain the workout it needs to strengthen mental function? Well, like any other part of your body, the amount and type of exercise you do go a long way. So increase your brain’s sharpness by engaging in some of these fun activities.
Growing your own vegetables and fruit is a delicious and gratifying hobby. A unique combination of deep thinking and hard work, gardening can also improve your cognitive function. Here are a number of reasons why:
- You get a bit of modest physical activity. Whether it’s digging around in the ground or moving bags of soil around, the exercise you get when gardening is enough to get your blood pumping, and that’s healthy for your brain.
- Gardening releases serotonin which can relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- You have to think about what you’re doing as you’re doing it. You have to analyze the situation utilizing planning and problem solving skills.
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 wants!
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts can be enjoyed by anybody no matter the artistic ability. You can make a simple sculpture using popsicle sticks. Or you can take up pottery and make an awesome clay pot! When it comes to exercising your brain, the medium matters a lot less than the process. Because your critical thinking abilities, imagination, and sense of aesthetics are developed by partaking in arts and crafts (sculpting, painting, building).
Arts and crafts can be good for your cognitive ability because:
- It requires the use 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 haul, your mental function will be healthier.
- You have to utilize your imagination and process sensory inputs in real time. This involves a lot of brain power! You can activate your imagination by undertaking these unique brain exercises.
- You have to stay focused on what you’re doing as you do it. You can help your cognitive process remain clear and flexible by engaging in this type of real time thinking.
Whether you get a paint-by-numbers kit or draft your own original fine art piece, your talent level doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re utilizing your imagination and keeping your brain sharp.
Taking a swim can help you stay healthy in a number of ways! Plus, a hot afternoon 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 in the pool swimming. After all, you don’t want to smash into anyone else in the pool!
Your mind also has to be aware of rhythms. How long can you be underwater before you need to breathe? That sort of thing. Even if this kind of thinking is happening in the background of your brain, it’s still great mental exercise. Plus, physical exercise of any kind can really help get blood to the brain going, and that can be good at helping to slow cognitive decline.
Just some time for you and your mind. As your thoughts calm down, your sympathetic nervous system also gets calm. These “mindfulness” meditation methods are designed to help you concentrate on your thinking. Meditation can help:
- Improve your memory
- Help you learn better
- Improve your attention span
Essentially, meditation can help present you with even more awareness of your mental and cognitive faculties.
Reading is great for you! And it’s also really fun. A book can take you anywhere according to that old saying. The floor of the ocean, the ancient past, outer space, you can travel anywhere in a book. When you’re following along with a story, manifesting landscapes in your imagination, and mentally conjuring up characters, you’re using lots of brain power. In this way, reading activates a huge part of your brain. You’re forced to think quite a bit and utilize your imagination when you read.
Consequently, one of the very best ways to improve the mind is by reading. 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 finish your book!
Spend some time every day to build your brain power by doing some reading, whether it’s fiction, science fiction, non-fiction, or whatever you enjoy. Audiobooks, for the record, work just as well!
Improve your cognition by getting your hearing loss treated
Disregarded hearing loss can raise your danger of cognitive decline, even if you do everything right. Which means, even if you garden, swim, and read, you’ll still be fighting an uphill battle, unless you manage your hearing loss.
When are able to have 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 thoughts, and your social skills.
Are you suffering from hearing loss? Reconnect your life by calling us today for a hearing test.