Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. A pencil, some numbers, and a few grids are all that’s required. A very pleasant way to pass some hours, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an added bonus that it strengthens your brain.
“Brain workouts” have become a popular means of fending off mental decline. But there are other means of slowing down mental decline. At times, your brain requires a boost in mental stimulation and research has shown that hearing aids might be capable of filling that role.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Your brain is a “use it or lose it” organ. Neural pathways will fizzle out without appropriate stimulus. Your brain has to create and strengthen neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
While some mental decline is a normal part of aging, there are some things that can hasten or worsen that decline. A particularly potent hazard for your cognitive health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to diminish, two things happen that powerfully affect your brain:
- You hear less: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the region of your brain responsible for all things hearing-related) receives weakened stimulation. This can cause changes in your brain (in some circumstances, for example, your brain starts to prioritize visual information; but that’s not true for everybody). These changes have been linked to a higher danger of cognitive decline.
- You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they have hearing loss. As your hearing loss increases, it might just seem easier to stay home to avoid conversation. This can rob your brain of even more input.
These two factors, when combined, can cause your brain to change in significant ways. This cognitive decline has frequently been connected to memory loss, problems concentrating, and (in the long term) greater risk of mental disorders such as dementia.
Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So if your hearing loss is neglected, this kind of cognitive decline can be the outcome. And it’s fairly obvious what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing loss treated. For most people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of properly-calibrated hearing aids.
It’s well corroborated and also unexpected the degree that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. Approximately 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, over 97% reported that their cognitive decline either stopped or reversed.
That’s a nearly universal improvement, simply from wearing hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- One of the primary functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And the more social you can be, the more engaged your brain remains. It’s easier (and more enjoyable) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!
- Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be advantageous because stimulation is the key to mental health. This portion of your brain will stay healthy and vital as long as you continue to hear ( with assistance from hearing aids).
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
The University of Melbourne research isn’t an outlier. If you have untreated hearing loss, numerous studies have revealed that wearing hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline. The problem is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. You might not even notice the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a little spacier than normal, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain fresh and pliable and give you stronger overall cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you exercise your brain and keep yourself mentally fit.