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

Because it’s simple, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. A pencil, some numbers, and a few grids are all that’s required. A very pleasant way to pass some hours, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an added perk that it’s good for your brain.

It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to manage mental decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only method of delaying cognitive recession. Often, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have shown that hearing aids may be capable of filling that role.

Cognitive Decline, What is it?

Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulus, neural connections tend to fizzle out. Your brain needs to make and reinforce neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

There are a few things that will hasten the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline associated with aging. Hearing loss, for instance, can present an especially potent risk for your cognitive health. Two things happen that powerfully affect 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 that deals with everything hearing-related) gets weakened stimulation. This can cause alterations to your brain (in some situations, for example, your brain starts to prioritize visual stimuli; but that’s not true for everybody). These changes have been connected to a higher risk of mental decline.
  • You don’t go out as much: Neglected hearing loss can cause some people to self-isolate in a detrimental way. As your hearing loss increases, it may just seem simpler to stay home to avoid conversation. But this is not a good idea as it can rob your brain of that necessary stimulation.

These two things, when put together, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. This mental decline has often been connected to memory loss, trouble concentrating, and (in the long term) higher risk of mental illness like dementia.

Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So, this mental decline happens because your hearing loss is going untreated. This means that the number one way to treat those declines is fairly clear: address your hearing impairment! Usually, this means new hearing aids.

It’s well substantiated and also surprising the degree that hearing aids can slow down cognitive decline. Scientists at the University of Melbourne surveyed approximately 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some form of hearing loss. Over 97% of those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months revealed a stabilization or even reversal of that mental decline.

That’s an almost universal improvement, simply from using hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:

  • Stimulation is critical to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it normally wouldn’t be, is most likely beneficial. This region of your brain will remain healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with assistance from hearing aids).
  • Helping you remain social is one of the key functions of any pair of hearing aids. And the more social you are, the more engaged your brain remains. When you can hear conversations it’s much more fun to hang out with your friends.

Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea

The University of Melbourne research isn’t the only one of it’s kind. Numerous studies appear to back up the notion that hearing aids can help slow mental decline, particularly when that decline would be hastened by neglected hearing loss. But many people have hearing loss and simply aren’t aware of it. You might not even recognize the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a bit spacier than normal, it may be worth talking with your hearing specialist.

That hearing aids are so effective doesn’t automatically mean you should quit doing Sudoku or other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and pliable and give you better general cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself mentally 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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