Brain Games Aren’t as Reliable as This For Mental Agility

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

Because it’s simple, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you require to play is some grids, some numbers, and a pencil. For many, a Sudoku puzzle book is a way to pass the time. That it’s a workout for your brain is an additional bonus.

It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to address mental decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only method of delaying cognitive recession. At times, your brain requires a boost in mental activation and research has revealed that hearing aids could be able to fill that role.

Mental Decline, What is it?

Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulation, neural connections will fizzle out. Your brain has to forge and reinforce neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.

While a certain amount of mental decline is a normal process associated with aging, there are some things that can hasten or quicken that decline. An especially formidable risk for your mental health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to decline, two things occur that powerfully impact your brain:

  • You hear less: There is less sound going in to stimulate your auditory cortex (the hearing center of the brain). This can cause changes in your brain (in some situations, for example, your brain begins to prioritize visual information; but that’s not true for everyone). Increased risk of mental decline has been associated with these changes.
  • You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they have hearing loss. Staying in to escape conversations may seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (particularly as your neglected hearing loss worsens). But this is not a good idea as it can deprive your brain of that needed stimulation.

These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. Loss of memory, trouble concentrating, and ultimately a higher danger of dementia have been related to this kind of cognitive decline.

Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So, this cognitive decline takes place because your hearing loss is being neglected. And it’s pretty obvious what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a shiny new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.

It’s well substantiated 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. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, over 97% reported that their mental decline either stabilized or reversed.

Just using hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:

  • Helping you continue to be social is one of the key functions of any pair of hearing aids. And your brain remains more involved when you stay social. When you can hear conversations it’s a lot more fun to socialize with your friends.
  • Stimulation is key to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it normally wouldn’t be, is probably beneficial. This region of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy 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. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids can help slow down mental decline. The dilemma is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. You might not even recognize the early symptoms. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a little forgetful, spacey, or stressed.

You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain refreshed and flexible and give you better overall cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself mentally 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.