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

Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you need to play is a few grids, a pencil, and some numbers. For many, a Sudoku puzzle book is a pleasant way to pass the hours. It’s an additional perk that it’s good for your brain.

It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to deal with mental decline. But there are other means of slowing down mental decline. Recent studies have shown that hearing aids might be able to provide your brain with a nice little boost in mental activation, reducing the progression of mental decline.

Mental Decline, What is it?

Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Neural connections will fizzle out without appropriate stimulation. That’s the reason why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively make and strengthen a plethora of neural pathways.

There are a few things that will hasten the process that would be a normal amount of mental decline connected with getting older. A really formidable danger for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. Two things happen that powerfully affect your brain when your hearing starts to go:

  • You hear less: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the part of your brain responsible for everything related to hearing) gets reduced stimulation. Your brain may end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. A higher danger of cognitive decline has been linked to these changes.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they have hearing loss. Staying home to escape conversations might seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your neglected hearing loss worsens). But this is not a good idea as it can rob your brain of that necessary stimulation.

These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in major ways. This cognitive decline has often been linked to memory loss, problems concentrating, and (over time) greater risk of mental disorders such as dementia.

Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So, this mental decline happens because your hearing loss is going untreated. And it’s pretty clear what needs to be done to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. 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 unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay mental decline. Experts at the University of Melbourne surveyed approximately 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind 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.

Just wearing hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:

  • Stimulation is key to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is most likely helpful. This area of your brain will stay healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with help from hearing aids).
  • One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And your brain stays more involved when you are social. It’s easier (and more fun) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!

Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea

This new study from the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, numerous studies have revealed that wearing hearing aids can help slow mental decline. The difficulty is that not everyone knows that they have hearing loss. The symptoms can sneak up on you. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a bit spacier than normal, it might be worth talking with your hearing specialist.

That hearing aids are so successful doesn’t automatically mean you should quit doing Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and engaged in numerous different ways can help broaden the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you exercise 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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