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, mainly because of its simplicity. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all that’s required. A very relaxing way to pass some hours, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an added perk that it’s good for your brain.

“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular means of fending off cognitive decline. But there are other methods of slowing down cognitive decline. At times, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have revealed that hearing aids may be able to fill that role.

Cognitive Decline, What is it?

Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Without stimulation, neural connections tend to fizzle out. Your brain needs to create and reinforce neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

There are a few things that will quicken the process that would be an ordinary amount of cognitive decline associated with getting older. Hearing loss, as an example, can provide a really formidable risk for your cognitive health. Two things happen that really affect your brain when your hearing begins to wain:

  • You hear less: There is less sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). This can cause alterations to your brain (in some cases, for example, your brain begins to prioritize visual information; but that’s not true for everybody). These changes have been linked to a higher risk of mental decline.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they suffer from hearing loss. Staying in to escape conversations may seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your untreated hearing loss progresses). But this is not a good idea as it can deprive your brain of that needed stimulation.

Put together, these two things can be the cause of a significant change in your brain. Loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and ultimately a higher danger of dementia have been linked to this type of cognitive decline.

Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this kind of mental decline can be the outcome. This means that the number one way to reverse those declines is fairly clear: deal with your hearing impairment! For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of properly-calibrated hearing aids.

It’s well substantiated and also surprising the extent that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. Approximately 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 revealed a stabilization or even reversal of that cognitive decline.

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

  • One of the main 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. When you can understand conversations it’s much more enjoyable to talk with your friends.
  • Stimulation is integral to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it normally wouldn’t be, is most likely helpful. This region of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy as long as you keep hearing ( with help 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. Study after study seems to back the notion that hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline, specifically when that decline would be accelerated by untreated hearing loss. But many individuals have hearing loss and just don’t recognize it. You may not even notice the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a little spacier than usual, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.

You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and engaged in numerous different ways can help expand the overall 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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