Because it’s simple, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you need in order to play is a few grids, a pencil, and some numbers. For many, a Sudoku puzzle book is a pleasant way to pass the hours. That it’s a workout for your brain is an additional perk.
“Brain workouts” have become a popular means of fending off mental decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only method of delaying cognitive recession. Often, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have revealed that hearing aids may be capable of filling that role.
Cognitive Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a rather use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Without stimulation, neural connections will fizzle. That’s why Sudoku tends to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively develop and reinforce numerous neural pathways.
There are some things that will hasten the process that would be a normal amount of mental decline associated with getting older. Hearing loss, for instance, can introduce a really formidable peril for your mental health. When your hearing begins to diminish, two things occur that really impact your brain:
- You hear less: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain responsible for all things hearing-related) receives weakened stimulation. Your brain could end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. Increased danger of cognitive decline has been connected to these changes.
- You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they suffer from hearing loss. Staying in to escape conversations might seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your neglected hearing loss worsens). This can deprive your brain of even more stimulation.
Together, these two things can be the cause of a significant change in your brain. Memory loss, problems concentrating, and ultimately an increased risk of dementia have been connected to this kind of mental decline.
Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So, this mental decline takes place because your hearing loss is being neglected. This means that the number one way to treat those declines is fairly obvious: treat your hearing impairment! For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.
The degree to which hearing aids can slow mental decline is both unexpected and well-substantiated. Scientists at the University of Melbourne interviewed around 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some form of hearing loss. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% said that their mental decline either stopped or reversed.
Just using hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be advantageous because stimulation is the key to mental health. As long as you continue to hear (with the assistance of hearing aids), this vital area of your brain will remain stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.
- One of the primary functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And your brain stays more involved when you stay social. When you can understand conversations it’s much more enjoyable to spend time with your friends.
Sudoko is Still a Good Idea
This new research from the University of Melbourne isn’t an outlier. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that wearing hearing aids can help decrease mental decline. But many people have hearing loss and simply aren’t aware of it. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a little spacier than normal, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain refreshed and flexible and give you stronger overall cognitive function. Working your brain out and keeping mentally fit can be helped by both hearing aids and brain games.