Because of its simplicity, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. All you need in order to play is a few grids, a pencil, and some numbers. For many people, a Sudoku puzzle book is a relaxing way to pass the hours. It’s an additional bonus that it strengthens your brain.
It’s becoming popular to use “brain workouts” to tackle cognitive decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only way to delay cognitive recession. Often, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have shown that hearing aids could be able to fill that role.
Mental Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Neural pathways will fizzle out without proper stimulus. That’s why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively forge and strengthen numerous neural pathways.
There are a few things that will speed up the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline connected with the aging process. Hearing loss, for instance, can introduce an especially formidable hazard for your mental health. When your hearing begins to diminish, two things occur that powerfully impact your brain:
- You can’t hear as well: There’s not as much sound going in to stimulate your auditory cortex (the hearing center of the brain). Your brain could end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to a higher danger of mental decline.
- 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 avoid conversations might seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (especially as your untreated hearing loss progresses). But this is a bad idea as it can rob your brain of that needed stimulation.
Put together, these two factors can be the cause of a major change in your brain. This mental decline has often been connected to loss of memory, problems concentrating, and (over time) increased risk of mental disorders including dementia.
Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So if your hearing loss is neglected, this kind of mental decline can be the outcome. This means that the best way to treat those declines is pretty clear: deal with your hearing impairment! Usually, this means new hearing aids.
It’s well corroborated and also surprising the degree that hearing aids can slow down mental decline. Scientists at the University of Melbourne interviewed 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 mental decline.
Just using hearing aids brought about a nearly universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:
- Helping you stay social is one of the primary functions of any pair of hearing aids. And your brain stays more involved when you stay social. When you can hear conversations it’s a lot more fun to talk with your friends.
- Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be helpful because stimulation is the key to mental well being. This portion of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with assistance from hearing aids).
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
The University of Melbourne study isn’t an outlier. If you have untreated hearing loss, many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids can help decrease mental decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and simply don’t recognize it. You might not even notice the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a bit spacey than usual, it might be worth talking with your hearing specialist.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain agile and involved in numerous different ways can help broaden 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.