Sudoku is a worldwide, popular puzzle game, largely because of its simplicity. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all that’s required. A very relaxing way to pass some hours, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. That it’s a workout for your brain is an added perk.
It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to tackle mental decline. But there are other methods of slowing down mental decline. Recent research has demonstrated that hearing aids may be capable of providing your brain with a little boost in mental stimulation, reducing the progression of cognitive decline.
Mental Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Neural connections will fizzle without proper stimulus. That’s why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it forces your brain to think, to creatively make and strengthen numerous neural pathways.
There are certain things that will accelerate the process that would be an ordinary amount of cognitive decline associated with aging. A particularly potent danger for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing begins to diminish, two things take place that really impact your brain:
- You hear less: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain that deals with everything related to hearing) receives weakened stimulation. This can cause changes in your brain (in some circumstances, for instance, your brain starts to prioritize visual information; but that isn’t true for everybody). These changes have been linked to a higher danger of mental decline.
- You go out less: Neglected hearing loss can cause some people to self-isolate in a detrimental way. Staying home to escape conversations may seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (especially as your neglected hearing loss progresses). This can deprive your brain of even more stimulation.
These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. Memory loss, trouble concentrating, and ultimately an increased risk of dementia have been related to this type of cognitive decline.
Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So, this cognitive decline occurs because your hearing loss is being neglected. This means that the best way to reverse those declines is pretty clear: address your hearing impairment! Usually, this means new hearing aids.
It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay mental decline. Researchers at the University of Melbourne surveyed around 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind of hearing loss. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% said that their cognitive decline either stabilized or reversed.
That’s a nearly universal improvement, simply from using hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:
- Helping you remain social is one of the primary functions of any pair of hearing aids. And your brain remains more involved when you are social. When you can hear conversations it’s much more fun to spend time with your friends.
- Finding ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be beneficial because stimulation is essential to mental health. This portion of your brain will stay healthy and vital as long as you continue to hear ( with assistance from hearing aids).
Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea
The University of Melbourne study isn’t an outlier. Numerous studies appear to back the notion that hearing aids can help reduce cognitive decline, particularly when that decline would be hastened by untreated hearing loss. The problem is that not everybody knows that they have hearing loss. The symptoms can sneak up on you. So it’s worth scheduling 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 quit doing Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain agile and engaged in a number of different ways can help expand the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Working your brain out and staying cognitively fit can be assisted by both hearing aids and brain games.