For Mental Agility, This is More Effective Than Brain Games

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

Sudoku is a worldwide, popular puzzle game, in large part because of its simplicity. All you require to play is a few grids, a pencil, and some numbers. For many, a Sudoku puzzle book is a relaxing way to pass the time. That it gives your brain a workout is an additional bonus.

“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular way of addressing cognitive decline. But there are other methods of slowing mental decline. Current studies have revealed that hearing aids may be able to provide your brain with a nice little boost in mental activation, reducing the advancement of mental decline.

Cognitive Decline, What is it?

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

There are a few things that will speed up the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline connected with aging. An especially potent risk for your cognitive health, as an example, is hearing loss. When your hearing begins to decline, two things take place that powerfully affect your brain:

  • You can’t hear as well: There’s not as much sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing center of the brain). Your brain may end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. A higher risk of cognitive decline has been linked to these changes.
  • You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they have hearing loss. As your hearing loss increases, it may just seem easier to stay home to avoid conversation. This can deprive your brain of even more input.

Combined, these two things can be the cause of a major change in your brain. Loss of memory, problems concentrating, and eventually an increased risk of dementia have been linked to this type of mental decline.

Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So, this cognitive decline takes place because your hearing loss is being neglected. This means that the number one way to treat those declines is pretty clear: address your hearing loss! Usually, this means new hearing aids.

It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the degree that hearing aids can delay mental decline. About 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were interviewed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% said that their mental decline either stabilized or reversed.

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

  • Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be advantageous because stimulation is essential to mental well being. This region of your brain will remain healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with help from hearing aids).
  • One of the primary functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And the more social you can be, the more involved your brain stays. When you can hear conversations it’s much more fun to spend time with your friends.

Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea

This new study from the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. Numerous studies appear to back the notion that hearing aids can help reduce mental 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. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a little spacier than usual, it might be worth talking with your hearing specialist.

You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and involved in numerous different ways can help broaden the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.

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.