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

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

It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to manage cognitive decline. But there are other methods of slowing down cognitive decline. Current research has demonstrated that hearing aids might be capable of providing your brain with a nice little boost in mental stimulation, slowing down the advancement of mental decline.

Cognitive Decline, What is it?

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

While some mental decline is a natural process associated with aging, there are some factors that can speed up or quicken that decline. A really potent risk for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. Two things take place that really impact your brain when your hearing begins to go:

  • You hear less: There’s not as much sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). This can cause changes in your brain (in some circumstances, for instance, your brain starts to prioritize visual information; but that’s not true for everybody). A higher danger of mental decline has been connected to these changes.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they suffer from hearing loss. As your hearing loss progresses, it may just seem easier to stay home to avoid conversation. This can rob your brain of even more stimulation.

Combined, these two factors can be the cause of a significant change in your brain. This cognitive decline has commonly been connected to loss of memory, trouble concentrating, and (in the long term) greater risk of mental disorders such as dementia.

Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So, this cognitive decline takes place because your hearing loss is going untreated. This means that the number one way to reverse those declines is fairly obvious: deal with your hearing impairment! In most cases, this means new hearing aids.

It’s well corroborated and also surprising the degree that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. Scientists at the University of Melbourne interviewed around 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind of hearing loss. Over 97% of those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months reported a stabilization or even reversal of that mental decline.

That’s a nearly universal improvement, simply from wearing hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:

  • One of the primary functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And the more social you can be, the more involved your brain remains. When you can understand conversations it’s a lot more fun to spend time with your friends.
  • Discovering ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be beneficial because stimulation is the key to mental well being. This area of your brain will continue to be healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with assistance from hearing aids).

Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea

This new research out of the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids can help decrease mental decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and simply don’t recognize it. The symptoms can sneak up on you. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a bit spacier than usual, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.

That hearing aids are so effective doesn’t automatically mean you should give up on your Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and involved in numerous different ways can help expand the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you exercise your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.

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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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