Because it’s simple, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. A pencil, some numbers, and a few grids are all that’s required. A very pleasant way to pass some hours, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. That it gives your brain a workout is an additional bonus.
“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular means of fending off cognitive decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only way to delay cognitive recession. Current studies have demonstrated that hearing aids may be able to provide your brain with a nice little boost in mental activation, reducing the advancement of mental decline.
Mental Decline, What is it?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Without stimulus, neural pathways will fizzle. Your brain needs to create and strengthen neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
While some mental decline is a natural process associated with aging, there are some factors that can hasten or quicken that decline. Hearing loss, as an example, can present a really potent risk for your mental health. Two things take place that really impact your brain when your hearing starts to go:
- You hear less: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain that deals with all things hearing-related) receives weakened stimulation. This can cause alterations to your brain (in some situations, for instance, your brain begins to prioritize visual stimuli; but that isn’t true for everyone). A higher danger of mental decline has been associated with these changes.
- You go out less: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they have hearing loss. As your hearing loss progresses, it may just seem easier to stay home to escape conversation. This can rob your brain of even more stimulation.
These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. Loss of memory, problems concentrating, and ultimately an increased risk of dementia have been connected to this type of mental decline.
Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this type of mental decline can be the outcome. And it’s pretty clear what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. Usually, this means new hearing aids.
The amount that hearing aids can slow mental decline is both surprising and well-substantiated. Researchers at the University of Melbourne surveyed approximately 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind 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.
That’s an almost universal improvement, just from using hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And the more social you are, the more engaged your brain remains. When you can understand conversations it’s much more enjoyable to talk with your friends.
- Discovering ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be advantageous because stimulation is essential to mental well being. This region of your brain will remain healthy and vital 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. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that using hearing aids can help slow down mental decline. The dilemma is that not everybody recognizes that they have hearing loss. You may not even notice the early symptoms. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a little forgetful, spacey, or stressed.
You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and flexible and give you stronger general cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you exercise your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.