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.

Because of its simplicity, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. All you require in order to play is some grids, a pencil, and some numbers. A very enjoyable way to pass some time, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. That it’s a workout for your brain is an additional perk.

It’s becoming popular to use “brain workouts” to deal with cognitive decline. But there are other methods of slowing mental decline. Sometimes, your brain needs a boost in mental activation and studies have demonstrated that hearing aids may be able to fill that role.

What is Cognitive Decline?

Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Neural connections will fizzle without proper stimulus. Your brain needs to make and reinforce neural pathways, that’s 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 factors that can hasten or quicken that decline. An especially potent risk for your mental health, as an example, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to diminish, two things happen that powerfully impact your brain:

  • You hear less: 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 causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to an increased risk of cognitive decline.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they suffer from hearing loss. Staying home to steer clear of conversations may seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your neglected hearing loss worsens). This can deprive your brain of even more stimulation.

These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in major ways. Memory loss, trouble concentrating, and ultimately an increased risk of dementia have been linked to this kind of cognitive decline.

Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So if your hearing loss is ignored, this type of cognitive decline can be the result. And it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done to reverse these declines: get your hearing loss treated. Normally, this means new hearing aids.

The degree to which hearing aids can slow mental decline is both surprising and well-corroborated. 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% revealed that their cognitive decline either stopped or reversed.

That’s an almost universal improvement, just from wearing hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:

  • One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And your brain remains more engaged when you stay social. It’s easier (and more enjoyable) to talk with your friends when you can follow the conversation!
  • Finding ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be beneficial because stimulation is the key to mental health. This region of your brain will stay vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).

Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea

The University of Melbourne study isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, numerous studies have revealed that wearing hearing aids can help decrease mental decline. The issue is that not everybody knows that they have hearing loss. The symptoms can sneak up on you. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a bit spacier than usual, it may be worth talking with your hearing specialist.

That hearing aids are so effective doesn’t automatically mean you should give up on your Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and engaged in numerous different ways can help expand the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Working your brain out and keeping cognitively fit can be assisted by both hearing aids and brain games.

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.