Sudoku is a worldwide, popular puzzle game, mainly because of its simplicity. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all you need. 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 additional perk.
“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular way of addressing cognitive decline. But there are other means of slowing cognitive decline. Current studies have shown that hearing aids may be capable of providing your brain with a nice little boost in mental stimulation, reducing the advancement of cognitive decline.
Mental Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a truly use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Neural pathways will fizzle out without appropriate stimulus. Your brain needs to make and reinforce neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
There are certain things that will accelerate the process that would be an ordinary amount of cognitive decline associated with the aging process. Hearing loss, as an example, can present a really formidable hazard for your cognitive health. When your hearing starts to diminish, two things occur that really affect your brain:
- You can’t hear as well: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain responsible for all things related to hearing) gets weakened stimulation. Your brain may end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. A higher danger of mental decline has been linked to these changes.
- You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they suffer from hearing loss. Staying in to escape conversations might seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (especially as your neglected hearing loss progresses). This can deprive your brain of even more stimulation.
Put together, these two factors can cause a significant change in your brain. This cognitive decline has often been connected to memory loss, problems concentrating, and (over time) increased risk of mental disorders such as dementia.
Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this kind of cognitive decline can be the result. And it’s pretty clear what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a shiny new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.
It’s well substantiated and also unexpected the extent that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. About 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were surveyed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% revealed that their cognitive decline either stopped or reversed.
Just using hearing aids resulted in a nearly universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:
- Finding ways to keep your auditory cortex active would be beneficial because stimulation is the key to mental health. As long as you keep hearing (with the assistance of hearing aids), this major area of your brain will continue to be stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.
- One of the main functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And the more social you can be, the more engaged your brain stays. When you can follow conversations it’s much more fun to spend time with your friends.
Sudoko is Still a Smart Idea
This new research out of the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. Numerous studies seem to back up the notion that hearing aids can help slow mental decline, specifically when that decline would be accelerated by neglected hearing loss. The problem is that not everybody knows that they have hearing loss. You may not even recognize the early signs. So it’s worth making an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a little spacey, forgetful, or stressed.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and flexible and give you better overall cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you exercise your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.