Increase Cognitive Function Using These 5 Enjoyable Activities

Older folks suffering from hearing loss are tending to the potted plants on a table, in the foreground and out of focus more ladies are helping

It’s not difficult to observe how your body ages over time. You get wrinkles. Your hair turns gray (or falls out). Your joints begin to get stiff. Some sagging of the skin starts to occur in certain places. Perhaps you begin to detect some fading of your eyesight and hearing. These indicators are difficult to miss.

But the impact aging has on the mind isn’t always so evident. You may find that you’re needing to note significant events on the calendar because you’re having difficulty with your memory. Perhaps you find yourself spacing out more and missing important events. The trouble is that this kind of mental decline takes place so slowly and gradually that you might never detect it. For those who have hearing loss, the psychological consequence can often worsen this decline.

Luckily, there are some ways that you can exercise your brain to keep it clear and healthy as you age. And you may even have some fun!

What’s the link between hearing and mental cognition

The majority of individuals will slowly lose their hearing as they get older (for a number of reasons). The risk of mental decline will then increase. So, why does hearing loss increase the risk of cognitive decline? There are several hidden risk factors as revealed by research.

  • There can be atrophy of the part of the brain that processes sound when somebody has untreated hearing loss. Occasionally, 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 separation. This isolation means you’re conversing less, interacting less, and spending more time on your own, and your cognition can suffer as a consequence.
  • Neglected hearing loss can also lead to depression and other mental health problems. And having these mental health problems can increase the corresponding danger of mental decline.

So is dementia the result of hearing loss? Well, not directly. But mental decline, including dementia, will be more probable for a person with neglected hearing loss. Those risks, however, can be significantly decreased by getting hearing loss treated. And, improving your overall brain health (known medically as “cognition”) can lessen those risks even more. Think of it as a little bit of preventative medicine.

How to improve cognitive function

So, how can you be certain to boost your mental function and give your brain the workout it needs? Well, the great news is that your brain is like any other part of the body: you can always achieve improvement, it simply calls for 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 incredibly enjoyable all by itself (it’s also a tasty hobby). A unique combination of deep thinking and hard work, gardening can also increase your cognitive function. This takes place for several reasons:

  • You get a little moderate physical exercise. Increased blood flow is good for your brain and blood flow will be improved by moving buckets around and digging in the ground.
  • Relief of anxiety and a little bit of serotonin. This can help keep mental health concerns like depression and anxiety in check.
  • You need to think about what you’re doing as you’re doing it. You have to assess the situation using planning and problem solving skills.

The reality that you get healthy fruits and vegetables out of your garden is an additional bonus. 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 regardless of artistic ability. You can make a simple sculpture using popsicle sticks. Or maybe you can make a nice clay mug on a pottery wheel. 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 cognition because:

  • It requires the use of fine motor skills. Even if it seems like it’s happening automatically, lots of work is being done by your nervous system and brain. Over the long run, your mental function will be healthier.
  • You need to manage sensory input in real time and you will need to engage your imagination to do that. A lot of brain power is required to accomplish that. There are a number of activities that stimulate your imagination in exactly this way, so it offers a unique type of brain exercise.
  • You will need to keep your attention engaged in the exercise you’re doing. This type of real time thinking can help keep your cognitive processes limber and flexible.

Whether you pick up a paint-by-numbers kit or create your own original work of art, your level of talent doesn’t really matter. What counts is that you’re using your imagination and keeping your mind sharp.


There are a lot of ways that swimming can keep you healthy. Plus, a hot day 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.

Whenever you’re in the pool, you have to do a lot of thinking about spatial relations when you’re swimming. Obviously, slamming into somebody else in the pool wouldn’t be a good thing.

You also have to think about 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 a good mental exercise even if it’s happening in the background of your mind. Plus, physical exercise of any sort can really help get blood to the brain going, and that can be good at helping to slow mental decline.


Just some time for you and your mind. Meditation can help settle your thoughts (and calm your sympathetic nervous system too). Sometimes called mindfulness meditation, these methods are made to help you concentrate on what you’re thinking. In this way, meditation can:

  • Help you learn better
  • Improve your memory
  • Improve your attention span

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 saying: a book can take you anywhere. In a book, you can go anywhere, such as outer space, the ancient world, or the depths of the ocean. Think of all the brain power that goes into generating these imaginary landscapes, following a story, or conjuring characters. A huge portion of your brain is involved when you’re reading. Reading isn’t feasible without employing your imagination and thinking a great deal.

As a result, reading is one of the best ways to focus your thoughts. You have to utilize your memory to keep track of the story, your imagination to picture what’s happening, and you get a nice dose of serotonin when you finish your book!

What you read doesn’t really make a difference, fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, as long as you allocate time every day reading and building your brainpower! And, for the record, audiobooks are essentially as effective as reading with your eyes.

Better your cognition by getting your hearing loss addressed

Even if you do every single thing correctly, neglected hearing loss can continue to increase your risks of cognitive decline. Which means, even if you swim and read and garden, you’ll still be fighting an uphill battle, unless you get your hearing loss treated.

Your social skills, your thinking, and your memory and cognition will improve once you have your hearing loss treated (usually with hearing aids).

Are you dealing with hearing loss? Contact us today to make an appointment for a hearing exam and reconnect to life!

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.