Image of someone with a hearing aid doing a brain game to improve cognitive ability.

Because of its simplicity, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. All you need in order to play is a few grids, some numbers, and a pencil. A very relaxing way to pass some hours, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. That it gives your brain a workout is an additional perk.

“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing cognitive decline. But there are other means of delaying mental decline. Current studies have shown that hearing aids may be able to provide your brain with a nice little boost in mental activation, reducing the progression of cognitive decline.

What is Cognitive Decline?

Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulus, neural pathways will fizzle. Your brain has to create and reinforce neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

There are certain things that will hasten the process that would be a normal amount of mental decline associated with aging. A really formidable risk for your cognitive health, as an example, is hearing loss. Two things take place that really affect your brain when your hearing begins to wain:

  • You can’t hear as well: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain responsible for everything hearing-related) gets weakened stimulation. Your brain could end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to an increased danger of cognitive decline.
  • You go out less: Neglected hearing loss can cause some individuals to self-isolate in a detrimental way. As your hearing loss progresses, it may just seem simpler to stay home to escape conversation. This can rob your brain of even more input.

These two factors, when combined, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. This cognitive decline has frequently been linked to loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and (in the long term) increased danger of mental illness such as dementia.

Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So, this mental decline occurs because your hearing loss is going untreated. And it’s pretty clear what needs to be done to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.

The degree to which hearing aids can slow mental decline is both unexpected and well-substantiated. About 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were surveyed by the University of Melbourne. Over 97% of those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months reported a stabilization or even reversal of that cognitive decline.

Just wearing hearing aids brought about an almost universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:

  • One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And the more social you can be, the more engaged your brain stays. It’s easier (and more enjoyable) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!
  • Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be helpful because stimulation is the key to mental health. As long as you keep hearing (with the assistance of hearing aids), this vital region of your brain will remain stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.

Sudoko is Still a Good Idea

The University of Melbourne study isn’t an outlier. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that using hearing aids can help decrease cognitive decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and simply aren’t aware of it. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a bit spacier than usual, it might be worth checking with your hearing specialist.

You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and flexible and give you stronger overall cognitive function. Working your brain out and staying mentally fit can be assisted by both hearing aids and brain games.

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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.
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