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

Because of its simplicity, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. All you require in order to play is a few grids, a pencil, and some numbers. A very pleasant 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 becoming popular to use “brain workouts” to tackle cognitive decline. But there are other means of slowing mental decline. At times, your brain requires a boost in mental activation and research has revealed that hearing aids might be capable of filling that role.

What is Cognitive Decline?

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

While a certain amount of mental decline is a normal process associated with aging, there are some factors that can speed up or exacerbate that decline. An especially formidable risk for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. Two things take place that really impact your brain when your hearing starts to wain:

  • You can’t hear as well: There’s not as much sound going in to stimulate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). Your brain could end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to a higher danger of cognitive 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 in to escape conversations might seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (especially as your untreated hearing loss worsens). This can rob your brain of even more stimulation.

Put together, these two things can result in a significant change in your brain. This cognitive decline has frequently been linked to memory loss, trouble concentrating, and (over time) greater danger of mental illness such as dementia.

Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So if your hearing loss is ignored, this type of mental decline can be the consequence. And it’s fairly obvious what you need to do to reverse these declines: get your hearing loss treated. Normally, this means new hearing aids.

The degree to which hearing aids can slow cognitive decline is both surprising and well-corroborated. About 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 wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months revealed a stabilization or even reversal of that cognitive decline.

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

  • Stimulation is key to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it normally wouldn’t be, is most likely beneficial. This region of your brain will continue to be healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with help from hearing aids).
  • Helping you remain social is one of the primary functions of any pair of hearing aids. And your brain remains more involved when you stay social. When you can hear conversations it’s much more enjoyable to spend time with your friends.

Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea

The University of Melbourne research isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that using hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline. The problem is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a little spacier than normal, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.

That hearing aids are so effective doesn’t necessarily mean you should quit doing Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain agile 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 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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