Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all that’s required. For many, a Sudoku puzzle book is a relaxing way to pass the time. That it’s a workout for your brain is an additional bonus.
“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular means of fending off mental decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only way to delay cognitive recession. At times, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have revealed that hearing aids might be able to fill that role.
Cognitive Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a truly use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Neural pathways will fizzle out without proper stimulation. That’s the reason why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it forces your brain to think, to creatively develop and reinforce a plethora of neural pathways.
While a certain amount of mental decline is a normal part of aging, there are some variables that can hasten or quicken that decline. Hearing loss, for instance, can introduce a really formidable hazard for your mental health. Two things occur that powerfully affect your brain when your hearing starts to wain:
- You hear less: There’s not as much sound going in to stimulate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). This can cause changes in your brain (in some situations, for instance, your brain begins to prioritize visual stimuli; but that isn’t true for everyone). Increased danger of cognitive decline has been linked to these changes.
- You don’t go out as much: Neglected hearing loss can cause some people to self-isolate in a detrimental way. As your hearing loss increases, it may just seem easier to stay inside to avoid conversation. This can deprive your brain of even more input.
Combined, these two things can cause a major change in your brain. Memory loss, problems concentrating, and ultimately an increased risk of dementia have been related to this kind of cognitive decline.
Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this type of mental decline can be the result. This means that the number one way to treat those declines is pretty obvious: deal with your hearing loss! Normally, this means new hearing aids.
It’s well substantiated and also unexpected the degree that hearing aids can slow down cognitive decline. Experts at the University of Melbourne surveyed about 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind of hearing loss. Over 97% of those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months revealed a stabilization or even reversal of that cognitive decline.
That’s an almost universal improvement, just from using hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:
- Stimulation is key to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it normally wouldn’t be, is most likely advantageous. This area of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).
- Helping you remain social is one of the primary functions of any set of hearing aids. And your brain remains more involved when you are social. When you can follow conversations it’s a lot more fun to socialize with your friends.
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
The University of Melbourne research isn’t the only one of it’s kind. Numerous studies appear to back the notion that hearing aids can help slow down mental decline, particularly when that decline would be hastened by neglected hearing loss. The issue is that not everybody knows that they have hearing loss. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a bit spacier than usual, it may be worth talking with your hearing specialist.
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.