Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. A pencil, some numbers, and a few grids are all that’s required. For many people, a Sudoku puzzle book is a relaxing way to pass the time. It’s an additional perk that it’s good for your brain.
It’s becoming popular to use “brain workouts” to tackle cognitive decline. But there are other ways of slowing down mental decline. Often, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have revealed that hearing aids may be able to fill that role.
What is Mental Decline?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Neural connections will fizzle without proper stimulus. That’s why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively make and reinforce numerous neural pathways.
There are a few things that will accelerate the process that would be a normal amount of cognitive decline associated with aging. A particularly potent hazard for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to decline, two things take place that really impact your brain:
- You can’t hear as well: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain that deals with all things hearing-related) gets weakened stimulation. Your brain could end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. A higher danger of mental decline has been linked to these changes.
- 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 easier to stay inside to avoid conversation. This can rob your brain of even more stimulation.
Together, these two things can be the cause of a significant change in your brain. Loss of memory, trouble concentrating, and eventually an increased danger of dementia have been related to this type of mental decline.
Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So if your hearing loss is neglected, this type of cognitive decline can be the result. This means that the best way to treat those declines is pretty clear: deal with your hearing impairment! For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.
It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay mental decline. Around 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were surveyed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, over 97% said that their cognitive decline either stopped or reversed.
Just wearing hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Helping you stay social is one of the key functions of any pair of hearing aids. And the more social you can be, the more engaged your brain stays. 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 keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is most likely beneficial. This region of your brain will continue to be healthy and vital as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).
Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea
This new research from the University of Melbourne isn’t an outlier. Study after study seems to back the notion that hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline, especially when that decline would be accelerated by neglected hearing loss. The problem is that not everybody knows that they have hearing loss. You might not even notice the early signs. So it’s worth scheduling 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 necessarily mean you should quit doing Sudoku or other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and pliable and give you stronger general cognitive function. Exercising and staying mentally fit can be helped by both hearing aids and brain games.