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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. All you need to play is some grids, a pencil, and some numbers. A very enjoyable way to pass some hours, for many individuals, is a soduku puzzle book. That it gives your brain a workout is an added perk.

“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing mental decline. But there are other ways of delaying mental decline. Current research has revealed that hearing aids might be capable of providing your brain with a little boost in mental stimulation, slowing down the advancement of cognitive decline.

What is Mental Decline?

Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Without stimulus, neural connections tend to fizzle. Your brain has to make and strengthen neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

There are certain 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 present a really potent risk for your mental health. When your hearing begins to decline, two things occur that powerfully impact your brain:

  • You can’t hear as well: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain that deals with all things related to hearing) gets reduced stimulation. Your brain might end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to an increased danger of mental decline.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they have hearing loss. Staying home to escape conversations may seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (especially as your neglected hearing loss worsens). But this is a bad idea as it can deprive your brain of that needed stimulation.

Combined, these two things can be the cause of a major change in your brain. This mental decline has often been connected to loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and (over time) greater risk of mental disorders such as dementia.

Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So, this mental decline occurs because your hearing loss is going untreated. And it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. Normally, this means new hearing aids.

The degree to which hearing aids can slow mental decline is both unexpected and well-corroborated. Approximately 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were interviewed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% revealed that their mental decline either stopped or reversed.

Just using hearing aids brought about a nearly universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:

  • One of the main functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And your brain stays more involved when you stay social. When you can understand conversations it’s much more fun to hang out with your friends.
  • Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be beneficial because stimulation is essential to mental well being. This region of your brain will remain vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with assistance from hearing aids).

Sudoko is Still a Good Idea

This new research out of the University of Melbourne isn’t an outlier. Numerous studies seem to back the notion that hearing aids can help reduce cognitive decline, especially when that decline would be hastened by neglected hearing loss. But many people have hearing loss and simply don’t recognize it. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a little spacier than usual, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.

That hearing aids are so effective doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up on your Sudoku or other brain games. They keep your brain refreshed and flexible and give you stronger overall cognitive function. Working your brain out and staying cognitively fit can be helped 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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