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Hearing Aids by Tricia Leagjeld - Redmond, OR

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Because it’s simple, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you need in order to play is a few grids, a pencil, and some numbers. A very relaxing way to pass some time, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. That it gives your brain a workout is an added perk.

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

What is Cognitive Decline?

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

There are a few things that will accelerate the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline associated with getting older. A really formidable danger for your mental health, as an example, is hearing loss. Two things take place that powerfully affect your brain when your hearing begins to go:

  • You can’t hear as well: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain that deals with everything related to hearing) gets reduced stimulation. This can cause changes in your brain (in some situations, for instance, your brain begins to prioritize visual information; but that isn’t true for everybody). These changes have been linked to a higher risk of cognitive decline.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they suffer from hearing loss. As your hearing loss progresses, it might just seem simpler to stay inside to escape conversation. But this is not a good idea as it can rob your brain of that needed stimulation.

Combined, these two factors can cause a significant change in your brain. Loss of memory, problems concentrating, and ultimately an increased risk of dementia have been linked to this kind of cognitive decline.

Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?

So if your hearing loss is ignored, this kind of cognitive decline can be the outcome. And it’s pretty clear what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. For most people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of properly-calibrated hearing aids.

It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of Melbourne interviewed about 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some form of hearing loss. 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 using hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:

  • Helping you remain social is one of the primary functions of any set of hearing aids. And the more social you are, the more involved your brain stays. When you can hear conversations it’s much more enjoyable to socialize with your friends.
  • Stimulation is integral to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably advantageous. This region of your brain will remain healthy and vital as long as you continue to hear ( with assistance from hearing aids).

Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea

The University of Melbourne research isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, many studies have shown that wearing hearing aids can help slow down mental decline. The difficulty is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a little 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. They keep your brain refreshed and pliable and give you better overall cognitive function. Working your brain out and keeping mentally fit can be helped by both hearing aids and brain games.

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