Sudoku is one of the most popular puzzle games in the world, mainly because of its simplicity. A pencil, some numbers, and a few grids are all that’s required. For many individuals, a Sudoku puzzle book is a relaxing way to pass the hours. That it’s a workout for your brain is an added perk.
“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing mental decline. But there are other ways 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, reducing the advancement of cognitive decline.
Mental Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a rather use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Without stimulus, neural connections have the tendency to fizzle out. Your brain needs to create and strengthen neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
There are some things that will speed up the process that would be a normal amount of mental decline connected with the aging process. A really formidable danger for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to decline, two things happen that really 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 danger of mental decline has been associated with these changes.
- You don’t go out as much: Neglected hearing loss can cause some people to self-isolate in a detrimental way. As your hearing loss progresses, it may just seem easier to stay home to avoid conversation. But this is not a good 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. Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and eventually a higher danger of dementia have been connected to this type of cognitive decline.
Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So if your hearing loss is neglected, this type of cognitive decline can be the result. And it’s pretty obvious what needs to be done to reverse these declines: get your hearing impairment treated. Usually, this means new hearing aids.
The degree to which hearing aids can slow cognitive decline is both unexpected and well-corroborated. Experts at the University of Melbourne surveyed approximately 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind 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 cognitive decline.
That’s a nearly universal improvement, simply from wearing hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:
- Finding ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be advantageous because stimulation is the key to mental well being. As long as you continue to hear (assisted by hearing aids), this essential region of your brain will remain stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.
- One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And your brain remains more involved when you are social. It’s easier (and more fun) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!
Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea
The University of Melbourne study isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, countless studies have revealed that wearing hearing aids can help slow mental decline. The dilemma is that not everyone knows 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 bit spacey, forgetful, or stressed.
You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain agile and involved in numerous 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 mentally fit.