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 you need. A very enjoyable way to pass some time, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. That it’s a workout for your brain is an additional perk.
It’s becoming popular to use “brain workouts” to manage cognitive decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only method of delaying cognitive recession. Often, your brain needs a boost in mental activation and studies have revealed that hearing aids may be capable of filling that role.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Neural pathways will fizzle without appropriate stimulation. Your brain needs to make and strengthen neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
There are some things that will quicken the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline associated with aging. A particularly potent danger for your mental health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to decline, two things happen that really impact your brain:
- You hear less: There’s not as much sound going in to stimulate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). This can cause alterations to your brain (in some situations, for example, your brain starts to prioritize visual stimuli; but that isn’t true for everybody). These changes have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive decline.
- You go out less: Untreated hearing loss can cause some individuals to self-isolate in an unhealthy way. Staying home to steer clear of conversations may seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (specifically as your neglected hearing loss progresses). But this is a bad idea as it can deprive your brain of that needed stimulation.
These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and ultimately an increased risk of dementia have been related to this type 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 outcome. And it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done to reverse these declines: get your hearing loss treated. For most people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.
It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay mental decline. Around 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were interviewed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% revealed that their cognitive decline either stabilized or reversed.
That’s a nearly universal improvement, just from wearing hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:
- Discovering ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be advantageous because stimulation is essential to mental health. As long as you continue to hear (assisted by hearing aids), this essential region of your brain will remain stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.
- Helping you stay social is one of the primary functions of any set of hearing aids. And the more social you are, the more involved your brain remains. When you can hear conversations it’s much more fun to talk with your friends.
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
The University of Melbourne study isn’t an outlier. Numerous studies seem to back the notion that hearing aids can help reduce mental decline, especially when that decline would be accelerated by neglected hearing loss. But many individuals have hearing loss and just don’t recognize it. The symptoms can sneak up on you. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a little spacier than normal, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.
You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain refreshed and flexible and give you better general cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you exercise your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.