Because it’s simple, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. All you require in order to play is some grids, a pencil, and some numbers. A very enjoyable way to pass some hours, for many individuals, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an added bonus that it strengthens your brain.
“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular means of fending off mental decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only method of delaying cognitive recession. At times, your brain needs a boost in mental activation and studies have shown that hearing aids might be capable of filling that role.
Mental Decline, What is it?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Neural pathways will fizzle out without appropriate stimulation. That’s why Sudoku tends to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively develop and reinforce numerous neural pathways.
There are a few things that will accelerate the process that would be an ordinary amount of mental decline associated with aging. An especially formidable hazard for your cognitive health, as an example, is hearing loss. Two things take place that really impact your brain when your hearing begins to go:
- You hear less: There is less sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing center of the brain). This can cause changes in your brain (in some situations, for instance, your brain starts to prioritize visual information; but that isn’t true for everybody). These changes have been connected to an increased risk of mental decline.
- You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they have hearing loss. As your hearing loss increases, it might just seem easier to stay home to escape conversation. But this is not a good idea as it can deprive your brain of that needed stimulation.
Put together, these two things can cause a major change in your brain. This mental decline has commonly been linked to memory loss, problems concentrating, and (over time) higher risk of mental illness like dementia.
Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So, this mental decline happens because your hearing loss is being neglected. This means that the best way to treat those declines is fairly obvious: deal with your hearing impairment! For most people with hearing loss, that means a shiny new pair of properly-calibrated hearing aids.
It’s well substantiated and also surprising the degree that hearing aids can slow down mental decline. Researchers at the University of Melbourne surveyed around 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some form of hearing loss. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% reported that their mental decline either stopped or reversed.
That’s a nearly universal improvement, simply from wearing hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:
- Stimulation is integral to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is most likely beneficial. This portion of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with assistance from hearing aids).
- Helping you continue to be social is one of the primary functions of any set of hearing aids. And the more social you are, the more engaged your brain stays. When you can understand conversations it’s a lot more enjoyable to talk with your friends.
Sudoko is Still a Good Idea
The University of Melbourne research isn’t an outlier. Numerous studies appear to back the notion that hearing aids can help slow down mental decline, specifically when that decline would be hastened by untreated hearing loss. But many individuals have hearing loss and just aren’t aware of it. You may not even recognize the early symptoms. So it’s worth making an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a bit spacey, forgetful, or stressed.
That hearing aids are so effective doesn’t necessarily mean you should give up on your Sudoku or other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and engaged in numerous different ways can help broaden the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Working your brain out and staying mentally fit can be helped by both hearing aids and brain games.