Because of its simplicity, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all that’s required. A very pleasant way to pass some time, for many individuals, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an added perk that it strengthens your brain.
It’s becoming popular to use “brain workouts” to tackle mental decline. But there are other means of delaying cognitive decline. Recent studies have shown that hearing aids might be able to provide your brain with a nice little boost in mental activation, slowing down the progression of mental decline.
What is Mental Decline?
Your brain has a truly use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Without stimulation, neural pathways will fizzle. That’s why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it forces your brain to think, to creatively make and reinforce numerous neural pathways.
There are certain things that will hasten the process that would be a normal amount of cognitive decline associated with getting older. An especially potent hazard for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. Two things take place that powerfully impact your brain when your hearing starts to go:
- You hear less: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain that deals with everything hearing-related) receives reduced stimulation. This can cause alterations to your brain (in some situations, for example, your brain begins to prioritize visual information; but that isn’t true for everybody). Increased danger of mental decline has been connected to these changes.
- You don’t go out as much: Untreated hearing loss can cause some individuals to self-isolate in an unhealthy way. Staying home to escape conversations might seem simpler than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your untreated hearing loss worsens). But this is a bad idea as it can deprive your brain of that necessary stimulation.
These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in major ways. This mental decline has frequently been linked to memory loss, trouble concentrating, and (over time) higher danger of mental disorders such as dementia.
Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So, this mental decline takes place because your hearing loss is being neglected. And it’s pretty obvious what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. Normally, this means new hearing aids.
It’s well substantiated and also unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay mental decline. Approximately 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were surveyed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% said that their cognitive decline either stopped or reversed.
Just using hearing aids brought about an almost universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:
- 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 talk with your friends when you can follow the conversation!
- Stimulation is critical to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it normally wouldn’t be, is probably advantageous. This portion of your brain will stay vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
This new study from the University of Melbourne 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, especially when that decline would be hastened by untreated hearing loss. The problem is that not everybody recognizes that they have hearing loss. You might not even notice the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a bit spacier than usual, it might be worth checking with your hearing specialist.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and involved in a number of 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 cognitively fit.