Because of its simplicity, 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 relaxing way to pass some hours, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an additional perk that it’s good for your brain.
“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular way of addressing cognitive decline. But there are other means of slowing down mental decline. Sometimes, your brain needs a boost in mental stimulation and studies have shown that hearing aids may be able to fill that role.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Without stimulus, neural connections have the tendency to fizzle. That’s why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively forge and strengthen a plethora of neural pathways.
There are certain things that will quicken the process that would be an ordinary amount of cognitive decline associated with the aging process. Hearing loss, for example, can provide an especially formidable hazard for your mental health. When your hearing begins to diminish, two things take place that powerfully impact your brain:
- You can’t hear as well: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the part of your brain that deals with everything hearing-related) gets reduced stimulation. This can cause changes in your brain (in some situations, for instance, your brain begins to prioritize visual information; but that isn’t true for everybody). These changes have been connected to a higher risk of mental decline.
- You go out less: Untreated hearing loss can cause some individuals to self-isolate in a detrimental way. As your hearing loss progresses, it might just seem easier to stay home to avoid conversation. This can rob your brain of even more stimulation.
Together, these two factors can result in a major change in your brain. Memory loss, trouble concentrating, and ultimately a higher risk of dementia have been related to this type of cognitive decline.
Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So if your hearing loss is ignored, this kind of cognitive decline can be the consequence. This means that the best way to reverse those declines is pretty obvious: treat your hearing loss! Normally, this means new hearing aids.
It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the degree that hearing aids can delay mental decline. Scientists at the University of Melbourne interviewed 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, over 97% said that their cognitive 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:
- Stimulation is key to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably helpful. This portion of your brain will remain vital and healthy as long as you keep hearing ( with help from hearing aids).
- 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 hang 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, many studies have demonstrated that wearing hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline. But many people have hearing loss and simply don’t recognize it. You might not even recognize the early signs. So it’s worth making an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a bit forgetful, spacey, or stressed.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and pliable and give you better general cognitive function. Exercising and staying cognitively fit can be assisted by both hearing aids and brain games.