Because it’s simple, 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 enjoyable way to pass some time, for many people, is a soduku puzzle book. That it gives your brain a workout is an additional bonus.
It’s becoming popular to use “brain workouts” to manage cognitive decline. But there are other means of slowing down mental decline. Sometimes, your brain needs a boost in mental activation and research has revealed that hearing aids may be capable of filling that role.
Cognitive Decline, What is it?
Your brain has a rather use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Neural pathways will fizzle out without proper stimulus. That’s the reason why Sudoku tends to keep you mentally active: it forces your brain to think, to creatively forge and reinforce numerous neural pathways.
While a certain amount of mental decline is a natural process associated with aging, there are some variables that can accelerate or quicken that decline. Hearing loss, for instance, can provide a particularly formidable peril for your mental health. When your hearing begins to decline, two things take place that powerfully affect your brain:
- You can’t hear as well: There’s not as much sound going in to activate your auditory cortex (the hearing focus of the brain). Your brain could end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been connected to a higher risk of cognitive decline.
- You don’t go out as much: Neglected hearing loss can cause some people to self-isolate in an unhealthy way. As your hearing loss progresses, it may just seem easier to stay home to avoid conversation. But this is a bad idea as it can rob your brain of that needed stimulation.
Together, these two things can result in a major change in your brain. Loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and eventually a higher risk of dementia have been related to this kind of mental decline.
Is Mental Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So if your hearing loss is neglected, this kind of cognitive decline can be the consequence. And it’s pretty obvious what you need to do to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. For most people with hearing loss, that means a brand new pair of well-calibrated hearing aids.
It’s well substantiated and also surprising the degree that hearing aids can slow down mental decline. Approximately 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were interviewed by the University of Melbourne. Over 97% of those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months revealed a stabilization or even reversal of that mental decline.
That’s a nearly universal improvement, simply from using hearing aids. We can learn a couple of things from this:
- Stimulation is critical to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is most likely beneficial. This portion of your brain will continue to be healthy and vital as long as you keep hearing ( with help from hearing aids).
- Helping you continue to be social is one of the key functions of any set of hearing aids. And the more social you are, the more involved your brain stays. It’s easier (and more fun) to talk with your friends when you can follow the conversation!
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
This new study from the University of Melbourne isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, countless studies have shown that wearing hearing aids can help slow down mental decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and just don’t recognize it. The symptoms can take you by surprise. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a little spacier than normal, it may be worth talking with your hearing specialist.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. They keep your brain refreshed and pliable and give you stronger overall cognitive function. Working your brain out and staying mentally fit can be helped by both hearing aids and brain games.