Because it’s simple, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. All you need to play is some grids, some numbers, and a pencil. For many individuals, a Sudoku puzzle book is a way to pass the hours. It’s an additional perk that it’s good for your brain.
“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing cognitive decline. But there are other methods of delaying mental decline. Recent studies have demonstrated that hearing aids may be able to provide your brain with a little boost in mental activation, slowing the progression of cognitive decline.
Cognitive Decline, What is it?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulation, neural pathways tend to fizzle out. That’s why Sudoku tends to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively develop and strengthen a plethora of neural pathways.
There are certain things that will accelerate the process that would be an ordinary amount of cognitive decline connected with getting older. An especially potent danger for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. Two things take place that powerfully affect your brain when your hearing begins to go:
- You can’t hear as well: There’s not as much sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus 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 linked to a higher danger 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. As your hearing loss progresses, it might just seem easier to stay inside to avoid conversation. This can deprive your brain of even more stimulation.
These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. Loss of memory, trouble concentrating, and ultimately an increased danger of dementia have been linked to this sort of cognitive decline.
Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So, this cognitive decline takes place because your hearing loss is going untreated. And it’s fairly clear what needs to be done to reverse these declines: get your hearing impairment treated. For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.
The amount that hearing aids can slow mental decline is both unexpected and well-corroborated. Scientists at the University of Melbourne surveyed around 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 mental decline.
Just wearing hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:
- One of the main functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And your brain remains more involved when you stay social. When you can follow conversations it’s much more fun to spend time with your friends.
- Stimulation is critical to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it normally wouldn’t be, is probably beneficial. This portion of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy as long as you keep hearing ( 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, many studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids can help decrease cognitive decline. But many people have hearing loss and just don’t recognize it. You may not even notice the early symptoms. So it’s worth making an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a bit forgetful, spacey, or stressed.
That hearing aids are so successful doesn’t automatically mean you should give up on your Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain agile and involved in numerous different ways can help expand the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself mentally fit.