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 some grids, a pencil, and some numbers. For many, a Sudoku puzzle book is a relaxing way to pass the time. That it’s a workout for your brain is an added perk.

“Brain workouts” have become a popular means of fending off mental decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only method of delaying cognitive recession. Recent research has revealed that hearing aids might be capable of providing your brain with a little boost in mental activation, slowing down the progression of mental decline.

Cognitive Decline, What is it?

Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulation, neural connections will fizzle. That’s the reason why Sudoku tends to keep you mentally active: it forces your brain to think, to creatively forge and strengthen numerous neural pathways.

There are a few things that will speed up the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline associated with aging. A really formidable danger for your mental health, as an example, is hearing loss. Two things occur 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 responsible for all things hearing-related) gets diminished stimulation. Your brain might end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to an increased danger of cognitive decline.
  • 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 home to steer clear of conversations may seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your neglected hearing loss worsens). This can rob your brain of even more input.

These two things, when combined, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. This cognitive decline has frequently been linked to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and (in the long term) higher danger of mental disorders like dementia.

Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this type of cognitive decline can be the consequence. This means that the best way to reverse those declines is pretty obvious: address your hearing loss! Normally, this means new hearing aids.

It’s well substantiated and also unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of Melbourne interviewed about 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind of hearing loss. Among those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% reported that their mental decline either stabilized or reversed.

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

  • Discovering ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be helpful because stimulation is essential to mental well being. This portion of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy as long as you keep hearing ( with assistance from hearing aids).
  • Helping you stay social is one of the primary functions of any set of hearing aids. And the more social you are, the more involved your brain remains. It’s easier (and more fun) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!

Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea

This new research from the University of Melbourne isn’t an outlier. If you have untreated hearing loss, countless studies have shown that using hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline. But many people have hearing loss and simply don’t recognize it. You may not even notice the early signs. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a little spacey, forgetful, or stressed.

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

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