Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you require in order to play is a few grids, some numbers, and a pencil. For many people, a Sudoku puzzle book is a way to pass the hours. It’s an added bonus that it strengthens your brain.
“Brain workouts” are becoming a popular way of addressing mental decline. But there are other means of delaying mental decline. Often, your brain requires a boost in mental stimulation and research has demonstrated that hearing aids may be able to fill that role.
What is Mental Decline?
Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Neural connections will fizzle without proper stimulation. Your brain has to create and reinforce neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
While some mental decline is a normal process associated with aging, there are some factors that can hasten or worsen that decline. Hearing loss, as an example, can introduce an especially formidable peril for your mental health. When your hearing begins to diminish, two things occur that really affect your brain:
- You hear less: With less sound input, your auditory cortex (the part of your brain that deals with everything hearing-related) receives weakened stimulation. Your brain could end up changing in a way that makes it prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to an increased risk of mental decline.
- You go out less: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they have hearing loss. As your hearing loss increases, it might just seem simpler 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 significant ways. This cognitive decline has often been linked to loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and (in the long term) greater danger of mental disorders like dementia.
Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So if your hearing loss is overlooked, this kind of cognitive decline can be the outcome. And it’s fairly obvious what needs to be done to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. For the majority of people with hearing loss, that means a shiny new pair of properly-calibrated hearing aids.
It’s well substantiated and also surprising the extent that hearing aids can slow down cognitive decline. Around 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were interviewed by the University of Melbourne. Among those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months, more than 97% reported that their cognitive decline either stabilized or reversed.
Just using hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Discovering ways to activate your auditory cortex would be helpful because stimulation is essential to mental health. This region of your brain will continue to be vital and healthy as long as you keep hearing ( with assistance from hearing aids).
- One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And the more social you are, the more engaged your brain remains. When you can follow conversations it’s much more enjoyable to spend time with your friends.
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
This new research from the University of Melbourne isn’t an outlier. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have revealed that using hearing aids can help decrease mental decline. But many people have hearing loss and just don’t recognize it. You may not even notice the early signs. So it’s worth scheduling an appointment with your hearing specialist if you’ve been feeling a bit spacey, forgetful, or strained.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain agile and engaged in numerous different ways can help broaden the overall cognitive strength of your executive functions. Exercising and staying mentally fit can be assisted by both hearing aids and brain games.