Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you require in order to play is a few grids, some numbers, and a pencil. A very enjoyable way to pass some time, 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 address mental decline. But there are other methods of slowing down cognitive decline. Current research has revealed that hearing aids may be capable of providing your brain with a nice little boost in mental stimulation, slowing the progression of cognitive decline.
Mental Decline, What is it?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulation, neural pathways tend to fizzle. Your brain has to forge and reinforce neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
While some mental decline is a normal part of aging, there are some factors that can speed up or worsen that decline. Hearing loss, for example, can present an especially formidable hazard for your cognitive health. Two things take place that really affect your brain when your hearing starts 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. Your brain could end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been linked to an increased danger of mental decline.
- You go out less: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they have hearing loss. Staying in to steer clear of conversations may seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (particularly as your neglected hearing loss worsens). But this is not a good idea as it can rob your brain of that needed stimulation.
These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. This mental decline has often been connected to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and (in the long term) higher danger of mental disorders such as dementia.
Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So if your hearing loss is neglected, this type of cognitive decline can be the result. And it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. For the majority of 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. Experts at the University of Melbourne surveyed approximately 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind of hearing loss. Among those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% reported that their mental decline either stabilized or reversed.
That’s an almost universal improvement, just from wearing hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Helping you continue to be social is one of the primary functions of any pair of hearing aids. And your brain stays more engaged when you stay social. When you can understand conversations it’s much more fun to hang out with your friends.
- Stimulation is critical to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it normally wouldn’t be, is most likely beneficial. This area of your brain will remain healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( 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 reduce mental decline, particularly when that decline would be accelerated by untreated hearing loss. The difficulty is that not everyone 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.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and engaged 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.