Audiology & Hearing Care of SWFL - Bonita Springs, FL

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 that’s required. For many people, a Sudoku puzzle book is a pleasant way to pass the time. It’s an added perk that it’s good for your brain.

“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular way of addressing mental decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only method of delaying cognitive recession. Current studies have revealed that hearing aids might 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. Without stimulus, neural pathways will fizzle out. Your brain needs to make and reinforce neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

There are certain things that will speed up the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline connected with aging. Hearing loss, for example, can introduce a particularly formidable peril for your cognitive health. When your hearing begins to decline, two things happen that powerfully impact your brain:

  • You hear less: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the part of your brain that deals with all things related to hearing) 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 mental decline has been connected to these changes.
  • You don’t go out as much: Neglected hearing loss can cause some individuals to self-isolate in an unhealthy way. Staying in to escape conversations might seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (especially as your untreated hearing loss worsens). But this is not a good idea as it can rob your brain of that necessary stimulation.

These two things, when combined, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. Loss of memory, problems concentrating, and ultimately a higher danger of dementia have been connected to this kind of cognitive decline.

Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this kind of mental decline can be the outcome. And it’s pretty clear what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. Usually, this means new hearing aids.

The amount that hearing aids can slow mental decline is both surprising and well-substantiated. Experts at the University of Melbourne surveyed around 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind of hearing loss. Over 97% of those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months reported a stabilization or even reversal of that cognitive decline.

That’s an almost universal improvement, simply from wearing hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:

  • One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And your brain stays more engaged when you are social. When you can follow conversations it’s much more enjoyable to talk with your friends.
  • Finding ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be helpful because stimulation is the key to mental well being. This portion of your brain will remain vital and healthy as long as you keep hearing ( with assistance from hearing aids).

Sudoko is Still a Good Idea

This new study out of the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, many studies have revealed that using hearing aids can help slow down cognitive decline. The issue is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. You may not even recognize the early signs. So it’s worth making an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a little forgetful, spacey, or stressed.

That hearing aids are so effective doesn’t automatically mean you should give up on your Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain agile and involved in a number of different ways can help expand the overall cognitive strength of your executive functions. Working your brain out and staying mentally fit can be assisted 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.