Sudoku is a global, popular puzzle game, mainly because of its simplicity. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all you need. For many individuals, a Sudoku puzzle book is a pleasant way to pass the hours. That it gives your brain a workout is an additional bonus.
“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing mental decline. But there are other ways of slowing down mental decline. Often, your brain requires a boost in mental activation and research has demonstrated that hearing aids could be capable of filling that role.
Cognitive Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a rather use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Neural pathways will fizzle without appropriate stimulation. That’s the reason why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively forge and reinforce a plethora of neural pathways.
There are a few things that will quicken the process that would be a normal amount of mental decline connected with aging. A really formidable danger for your mental health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing begins to diminish, two things happen that powerfully affect your brain:
- You hear less: There is less sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). Your brain might end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. A higher risk of mental decline has been associated with these changes.
- You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they suffer from hearing loss. Staying in to escape conversations might seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your untreated hearing loss progresses). But this is a bad idea as it can deprive your brain of that necessary stimulation.
Put together, these two things can cause a significant change in your brain. Loss of memory, trouble concentrating, and eventually an increased danger of dementia have been related to this sort of mental decline.
Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this kind of mental decline can be the result. This means that the best way to reverse those declines is pretty obvious: treat your hearing loss! In most cases, this means new hearing aids.
The degree to which hearing aids can slow cognitive 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 form of hearing loss. Over 97% of those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months revealed a stabilization or even reversal of that mental decline.
Just using hearing aids brought about an almost universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Stimulation is key 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 portion of your brain will continue to be healthy and vital as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).
- Helping you remain social is one of the key functions of any set of hearing aids. And your brain remains more engaged when you stay social. It’s easier (and more fun) to hang with your friends when you can follow the conversation!
Sudoko is Still a Good Idea
This new research out of the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, many studies have revealed that wearing hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and just aren’t aware of it. You may not even recognize the early signs. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a little 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 nimble and involved in numerous different ways can help broaden the overall cognitive strength of your executive functions. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself mentally fit.