Sudoku is one of the most popular puzzle games in the world, mainly because of its simplicity. All you need in order to play is some grids, some numbers, and a pencil. A very relaxing way to pass some time, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an additional perk that it strengthens your brain.
“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular means of fending off cognitive decline. But there are other ways of slowing cognitive decline. Sometimes, your brain needs a boost in mental activation and research has revealed that hearing aids could be capable of filling that role.
What is Mental Decline?
Your brain has a truly use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Neural pathways will fizzle out without proper stimulation. Your brain needs to create and strengthen neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
There are certain things that will quicken the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline connected with the aging process. Hearing loss, as an example, can provide a really potent hazard for your mental health. When your hearing begins to diminish, two things occur that really affect your brain:
- You hear less: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain that deals with all things related to hearing) receives diminished stimulation. This can cause alterations to your brain (in some circumstances, for example, your brain begins to prioritize visual stimuli; but that isn’t true for everyone). Increased risk of cognitive decline has been associated with 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. As your hearing loss progresses, it might just seem simpler to stay inside to escape conversation. But this is a bad idea as it can rob your brain of that necessary stimulation.
These two things, when put together, can cause your brain to change in major ways. This mental decline has often been linked to memory loss, problems concentrating, and (over time) increased danger of mental disorders like dementia.
Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So, this cognitive decline happens because your hearing loss is going untreated. This means that the number one way to reverse those declines is fairly clear: address your hearing loss! Usually, this means new hearing aids.
The amount that hearing aids can slow cognitive decline is both surprising and well-substantiated. Approximately 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were interviewed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months, over 97% said that their cognitive decline either stopped or reversed.
Just using hearing aids resulted in a nearly universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be helpful because stimulation is the key to mental well being. This area of your brain will remain healthy and vital as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).
- One of the main functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And your brain stays more involved when you stay social. It’s easier (and more fun) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
The University of Melbourne study isn’t the only one of it’s kind. Study after study seems to back up the notion that hearing aids can help slow down mental decline, particularly when that decline would be hastened by neglected hearing loss. But many people have hearing loss and just don’t recognize it. You might not even recognize the early signs. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a bit spacey, forgetful, or stressed.
That hearing aids are so successful doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up on your Sudoku or other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and flexible and give you better overall cognitive function. Working your brain out and keeping mentally fit can be helped by both hearing aids and brain games.