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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 in order to play is some grids, some numbers, and a pencil. A very enjoyable way to pass some hours, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an added bonus that it’s good for your brain.

“Brain workouts” have become a popular means of fending off cognitive decline. But there are other means of delaying mental decline. Recent studies have demonstrated that hearing aids may be able to provide your brain with a little boost in mental activation, slowing down the progression of mental decline.

What is Mental Decline?

Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Neural pathways will fizzle without proper stimulus. Your brain needs to forge and reinforce neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

While a certain amount of mental decline is a normal part of aging, there are some things that can hasten or worsen that decline. Hearing loss, for instance, can provide a really formidable risk for your cognitive health. Two things take place that powerfully impact your brain when your hearing begins to go:

  • You can’t hear as well: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain responsible for everything related to hearing) receives weakened 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 risk of cognitive 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. As your hearing loss progresses, it may just seem easier to stay inside to avoid conversation. This can rob your brain of even more input.

These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in major ways. This mental decline has commonly been linked to memory loss, problems concentrating, and (over time) greater danger of mental illness like dementia.

Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this kind of cognitive decline can be the result. And it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. Usually, this means new hearing aids.

The amount that hearing aids can slow mental decline is both unexpected and well-corroborated. Scientists at the University of Melbourne surveyed about 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some form of hearing loss. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% revealed that their cognitive decline either stopped or reversed.

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

  • One of the primary functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And your brain stays more involved when you are social. When you can understand conversations it’s much more enjoyable to hang out with your friends.
  • Discovering ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be advantageous because stimulation is essential to mental health. This area of your brain will stay vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with assistance from hearing aids).

Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea

The University of Melbourne study isn’t an outlier. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have revealed that wearing hearing aids can help decrease cognitive decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and just aren’t aware of it. You might not even notice the early signs. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a bit spacey, forgetful, or stressed.

You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and involved in numerous different ways can help expand the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Working your brain out and keeping 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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