#1 Learn to Filter Noise at Home
When you workout your ears, are you working out your mind too? Sound filtering is the phrase we use when talking about how focusing on something essential and filtering out the sound distractions in the room. Exercising this skill keeps it sharp and that means you are able to understand a conversation even in a noisy space.
You can start your practice with music from a couple of different devices – maybe use the TV and your laptop. Now, ask a friend to sit with you and talk. Take time to focus on the conversation while ignoring the music playing around you from the various devices. Work this exercise in a room where you can change the environmental distractions easily like adjusting the volume.
How to do the Exercise
It’s a challenge for someone with hearing loss to listen to the conversation when there is a lot of distracting noise. That’s a problem most people have but one that is significant with serious hearing loss. Consider how a noise as simple as the heater or AC unit coming on could make hard to understand words unless you learn to keep your mind focused and your ears sharp with hearing exercises.
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 singular 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 will help you figure the noise out but, just as importantly, they will strengthen your hearing.
#3 Play Brain Games
Not every hearing exercise has to be work. You can improve all of your senses, including your hearing, by strengthening your mind. Since your brain is your internal translator you can improve its ability to distinguish sound by improving its overall functionality. While a medical professional can recommend specific games to improve your mental focus there are many you can start off doing on your own.
How to do the Exercise
There are countless games for one or more players that can help with this exercise. Any kind of logic or strategy game will help and it can be on your tablet, on your table, or in the newspaper.
Speaking of newspapers, crosswords and Sudoku are excellent options for someone who wants to practice flexing their mental muscles solo. Even activities like crocheting can help keep your mind strong. Memory games are also great as they can be as simple as a card game or as exciting as a shell game. If none of those appeal to you there are still more options. For example, a simple Rubik’s cube can offer up hours of pattern recognition and problem-solving practice.
Of course, there are more social ways to play brain games such as playing chess, checkers, or scrabble. It doesn’t matter what you choose so long as you’re using your noggin!