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. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all you need. A very enjoyable way to pass some hours, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. That it’s a workout for your brain is an additional bonus.

“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing cognitive decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only way to delay cognitive recession. Current research has revealed that hearing aids may be capable of providing your brain with a little boost in mental stimulation, slowing the advancement of cognitive decline.

Cognitive Decline, What is it?

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

There are some things that will accelerate the process that would be an ordinary amount of cognitive decline associated with the aging process. An especially potent risk for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. Two things take place that really affect your brain when your hearing starts to go:

  • You hear less: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain responsible for everything hearing-related) receives weakened stimulation. Your brain might end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. A higher danger of cognitive decline has been connected to these changes.
  • You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they have hearing loss. Staying in to avoid conversations might seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your neglected hearing loss progresses). But this is a bad idea as it can deprive your brain of that necessary stimulation.

These two things, when put together, can cause your brain to change in major ways. Loss of memory, problems concentrating, and ultimately an increased danger of dementia have been connected to this kind of mental decline.

Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this type of mental decline can be the outcome. This means that the number one way to reverse those declines is fairly obvious: address your hearing loss! For most people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of properly-calibrated hearing aids.

It’s well corroborated and also surprising the degree that hearing aids can slow down cognitive decline. About 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were interviewed 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 a nearly universal improvement, simply from wearing hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:

  • One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And the more social you can be, the more involved your brain remains. When you can understand conversations it’s a lot more fun to hang out with your friends.
  • Stimulation is integral to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably advantageous. As long as you continue to hear (with the assistance of hearing aids), this essential area of your brain will continue to be stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.

Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea

This new study from the University of Melbourne isn’t an outlier. If you have untreated hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that using hearing aids can help slow down mental decline. The dilemma is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. You may not even notice the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a little spacier than usual, 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 involved in numerous different ways can help broaden the overall cognitive strength of your executive functions. Exercising and staying mentally 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.