It’s not difficult 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 becomes a bit saggy in places. Perhaps your eyesight and your hearing both start to diminish a little. It’s pretty hard not to see these changes.
But the affect getting older has on the mind isn’t always so apparent. You may notice that your memory isn’t as good as it once was and that you need to start writing essential dates on your calendar. Maybe you find yourself spacing out more and missing important events. But sadly, you may not even notice this slow onset. For those who have hearing loss, the psychological effects can frequently worsen this decline.
As you get older, there are, luckily, some exercises you can do to help your brain stay clear. And you might even have a little bit of fun!
What is the connection between hearing and mental cognition
There are numerous reasons why individuals will gradually lose their hearing as they age. This can lead to a higher risk of cognitive decline. So what is the link between cognitive decline and hearing loss? There are several hidden risk factors according to research.
- 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 isn’t very good for cognitive health.
- Neglected hearing loss can easily lead to a sense of social isolation. This isolation means you’re conversing less, socializing less, and spending more time by yourself, and your cognition can suffer as a consequence.
- Mental health problems and depression can be the result of neglected hearing loss. And having these mental health problems can increase the corresponding danger of mental decline.
So, can hearing loss turn into dementia? Well, not directly. But mental decline, including dementia, will be more probable for someone with untreated hearing loss. Those risks, however, can be greatly lowered by getting hearing loss treated. And those risks can be decreased even more by increasing your overall brain function or cognition. A little preventative management can go a long way.
Improving mental function
So how do you approach giving your brain the workout it needs to increase mental function? Well, the good news is that your brain is the same as any other part of the body: you can always achieve improvement, it simply requires a little exercise. So improve your brain’s sharpness by doing some of these fun activities.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables can be extremely enjoyable all on its own (it’s also a tasty hobby). Your cognition can be improved with this unique mix of hard work and deep thinking. This happens for a number of reasons:
- Gardening releases serotonin which can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- As you’re working, you will have to think about what you’re doing. You have to analyze the situation making use of planning and problem solving skills.
- You get a little modest physical activity. Whether it’s digging around in the dirt or moving buckets of soil around, the exercise you get when gardening is enough to get your blood pumping, and that’s good for your brain.
As an added bonus, you get healthy vegetables and fruits from your hobby. Of course, you can grow a lot of other things besides food in (herbs, flowers cacti).
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts can be appreciated by anyone no matter the artistic ability. Something as simple as a popsicle stick sculpture can be fun. Or you can take up pottery and make an awesome clay pot! It’s the process that counts when it comes to exercising the brain, not as much the particular medium. That’s because arts and crafts (painting, sculpting, building) tap into your imagination, your critical thinking skills, and your sense of aesthetics.
Here are several reasons why doing arts and crafts will improve cognition:
- It requires making 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. That kind of exercise can keep your cognitive functions healthier over the long run.
- You need to manage sensory input in real time and you will have to employ your imagination to do that. This requires a great deal of brain power! There are a few activities that stimulate your imagination in just this way, so it offers a unique type of brain exercise.
- You will need to keep your mind engaged in the activity you’re doing. This type of real time thinking can help keep your cognitive processes limber and versatile.
Whether you pick up a paint-by-numbers kit or draft your own original fine art piece, your level of talent doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you’re making use of your imagination and keeping your brain sharp.
There are a lot of ways that swimming can keep you healthy. Plus, it’s always enjoyable to jump into the pool (particularly when it’s so unrelentingly hot outside). And while it’s obviously good for your physical health, there are some ways that swimming can also be good for your cognitive health.
Whenever you’re in the pool, you need to do a lot of thinking about spatial relations when you’re swimming. Obviously, slamming into someone else in the pool wouldn’t be safe.
Your mind also has 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 a good cognitive exercise even if it’s happening in the background of your brain. And mental decline will progress more slowly when you get involved in physical activity because it helps get more blood to the brain.
Spending some silent solo time with your mind. As your thoughts become calm, your sympathetic nervous system also gets calm. These “mindfulness” meditation methods are made to help you concentrate on your thinking. As a result, meditation can:
- Improve your attention span
- Help you learn better
- Improve your memory
Essentially, meditation can help provide you with even more awareness of your mental and cognitive faculties.
Reading is great for you! And even more than that, it’s really enjoyable. There’s that old adage: a book can take you anywhere. The floor of the ocean, the ancient past, outer space, you can travel everywhere in a book. When you’re following along with a story, creating landscapes in your imagination, and mentally creating characters, you’re using lots of brain power. In this way, reading activates a massive part of your brain. Reading isn’t feasible without employing your imagination and thinking a lot.
As a result, reading is one of the most ideal ways to sharpen your thoughts. You have to utilize your memory to keep track of the story, your imagination to visualize what’s going on, and you get a sweet dose of serotonin when you finish your book!
What you read doesn’t really matter, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, as long as you spend some time every day reading and strengthening your brainpower! Audiobooks, for the record, work just as well!
Improve your cognition by getting your hearing loss managed in Bloomington, IN
Neglected hearing loss can increase your risk of cognitive 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 managed (usually because of 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 suffering from hearing loss near Bloomington, IN? Call us at Bright Life Hearing Care, LLC today to make an appointment for a hearing exam and reconnect to life! 812-247-8502