For Mental Agility, This is More Successful Than Brain Games

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 to play is a few grids, a pencil, and some numbers. For many individuals, a Sudoku puzzle book is a way to pass the time. It’s an added bonus that it strengthens your brain.

It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to deal with cognitive decline. But there are other methods of delaying mental decline. Current research has revealed that hearing aids might be capable of providing your brain with a little boost in mental activation, reducing the progression of mental decline.

What is Cognitive Decline?

Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Neural pathways will fizzle without proper stimulation. Your brain needs to create and reinforce neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

While a certain amount of mental decline is a natural process associated with aging, there are some variables that can accelerate or exacerbate that decline. Hearing loss, for instance, can introduce a particularly potent hazard for your cognitive health. Two things happen that powerfully affect your brain when your hearing starts to go:

  • You hear less: There is less sound going in to stimulate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). This can cause changes in your brain (in some circumstances, for example, your brain begins to prioritize visual stimuli; but that’s not true for everyone). Increased danger of cognitive decline has been associated with these changes.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they have hearing loss. As your hearing loss increases, it might just seem simpler to stay home to escape conversation. But this is a bad idea as it can rob 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 eventually an increased risk of dementia have been connected to this kind of mental decline.

Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So, this cognitive decline takes place because your hearing loss is being neglected. And it’s fairly clear what needs to be done to reverse these declines: get your hearing impairment treated. Usually, this means new hearing aids.

It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the degree that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. Approximately 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.

Just wearing hearing aids brought about a nearly universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:

  • Helping you remain social is one of the primary functions of any pair of hearing aids. And the more social you can be, the more engaged your brain stays. It’s easier (and more fun) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!
  • Stimulation is critical to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably advantageous. This portion of your brain will stay healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with assistance from hearing aids).

Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea

The University of Melbourne research isn’t an outlier. Numerous studies appear to back up the notion that hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline, specifically when that decline would be accelerated by untreated hearing loss. But many people have hearing loss and simply aren’t aware of it. You may not even recognize the early signs. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a little spacey, forgetful, or strained.

You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain refreshed and pliable and give you better general cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.

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