#1 Learn to Filter Noise at Home
When you workout your ears, you workout your mind too! Noise filtering is just the term we use to talk about how we can concentrate on something important and tune out the audible distractions around us. Keeping this skill sharp means being able to hear a conversation in a noisy restaurant.
To start practicing you’ll need music from a couple of different devices – perhaps a TV and tablet, you’ll also need a partner to converse with. You’ll be focused on the conversation while trying to ignore the audio from your devices.
It’s best to do this in a room where you’ll be able to easily adjust or shut off your distraction devices.
How to do the Exercise
It’s easy for anyone to get lost or overwhelmed in a conversation when there is a lot of distracting noise, however this can become a nearly impossible challenge for those with significant hearing loss. Something as common as your heater or AC unit coming on could make it impossible to hear unless you keep your mind and ears agile with exercises like this one.
Begin your practice in a comfortable space. You’ll want to avoid fidgeting so you can focus. When possible, find a quiet room for this exercise. It will be less frustrating if you have control over the distracting sounds.
Start a conversation and turn one device on low. Are you both still using your normal speaking voices? Can you hear the other person? If you answered yes to both questions, then keep moving on, if not, turn the volume down on the device until you can comfortably hear and speak with the other person.
After you’ve gotten used to filtering out one music source, try adding in the second one. To make it more of a challenge, try adjusting the volume or adding on even more devices. The nice part of this exercise is both you and your friend are doing something good for your ears and minds!
#2 Identify and Locate Sounds
Wait, what was that noise? It’s a question that most people ask at some point. This means that everyone can benefit from practicing how to locate a sound and figuring out what’s making it to strengthen their hearing.
This is a lot like the previous exercise, so you won’t need fancy tools or equipment. It’s also a great training exercise for outdoors whether you’re in the country or a major city. The goal is to surround yourself with varied sounds. The more diverse the environment the better!
How to do the Exercise
This straightforward task is good for your mental health because it works to strengthen the connections and pathways the brain needs to translate information coming from the ears. In other words, it will work to fine-tune your thinking so you can do more with less effort!
Look for a space that is bustling but comfortable. Maybe use the local shopping mall or food court. Now, close your eyes and focus on one single sound around you. Let your mind help you determine where that sound is coming from and what’s making it. Is it someone’s shoes clicking? Maybe it’s a child clapping her hands? If you can’t quite identify it try to figure out how big the object is that’s making the sound and how it makes you feel, or even what type of material might be used to create it. All of these small puzzle pieces together will help you determine what the noise is and strengthen your hearing at the same time.
#3 Play Brain Games
Not every exercise has to be a major hearing challenge. You can work all of your senses, including your hearing, by strengthening your mind. The brain serves as your translator, so you can improve sound recognition by focusing on its overall functioning. A doctor or hearing professional can provide you with specific games to improve your mental agility, but there are some you can do on your own.
How to do the Exercise
There are quite a few games that work for one or more players. For example, any kind of logic or strategy game will help and you can play it on your tablet, on your table, or in the newspaper.
Speaking of print publications, crossword puzzles and number games like Sudoku are powerful mind puzzles for someone who wants to flex their mental muscles on their own. Even tasks like crocheting will work your mind and keep it strong. Memory games are especially effective. They can be as basic as a card game or as exciting as a shell game. If those don’t appeal to you, keep looking because there are much more out there. For example, remember the Rubik’s cube? It can provide hours of pattern recognition and problem-solving practice.
Of course, don’t forget the social brain games such as playing chess, checkers, or scrabble with friends and family. It doesn’t matter what you do so long as you’re using your noggin!