Because it’s simple, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. All you require in order to play is some grids, some numbers, and a pencil. A very enjoyable way to pass some time, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. It’s an added bonus that it strengthens your brain.
It’s become popular to use “brain workouts” to tackle cognitive decline. But Sudoku isn’t the only way to delay cognitive recession. Often, your brain requires a boost in mental stimulation and studies have demonstrated that hearing aids may be capable of filling that role.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Your brain has a truly use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Neural pathways will fizzle without appropriate stimulus. That’s the reason why Sudoku has a tendency to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively develop and strengthen a plethora of neural pathways.
There are certain things that will accelerate the process that would be a normal amount of mental decline associated with getting older. An especially potent hazard for your mental health, for instance, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to diminish, two things happen that really affect your brain:
- You hear less: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the part of your brain responsible for everything hearing-related) receives diminished stimulation. This can cause alterations to your brain (in some cases, for instance, your brain begins to prioritize visual information; but that isn’t true for everyone). These changes have been linked to a higher risk of cognitive decline.
- You don’t go out as much: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they suffer from hearing loss. As your hearing loss progresses, it may just seem simpler to stay home to escape conversation. This can rob your brain of even more stimulation.
Put together, these two factors can result in a significant change in your brain. This cognitive decline has frequently been linked to loss of memory, problems concentrating, and (over time) higher risk of mental disorders such as dementia.
Will Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So, this mental decline occurs because your hearing loss is being neglected. And it’s pretty obvious what you need to do to reverse these declines: get 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 surprising the extent that hearing aids can delay cognitive decline. Around 100 people with hearing loss from the age of 62 to age 82 were surveyed by the University of Melbourne. Over 97% of those adults who wore their hearing aids for at least 18 months reported a stabilization or even reversal of that cognitive decline.
That’s a nearly universal improvement, simply from using hearing aids. That tells us a couple of things:
- Finding ways to activate your auditory cortex would be beneficial because stimulation is the key to mental health. As long as you continue to hear (assisted by hearing aids), this essential area of your brain will remain stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.
- One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to help you stay social. And your brain remains more engaged when you are social. It’s easier (and more fun) to talk with your friends when you can understand the conversation!
Doesn’t Mean Sudoku is a Bad Idea
The University of Melbourne study isn’t an outlier. If you have untreated hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that using hearing aids can help slow down cognitive decline. But many individuals have hearing loss and simply aren’t aware of it. The symptoms can sneak up on you. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a little spacier than usual, it might be worth talking with your hearing specialist.
You should still continue doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain agile and engaged in numerous different ways can help broaden the total cognitive strength of your executive functions. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.