Because it’s simple, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. Some numbers, a pencil, and a few grids are all that’s required. For many, a Sudoku puzzle book is a way to pass the time. 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 needs a boost in mental activation and studies have demonstrated that hearing aids may 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 proper stimulation. Your brain needs to make and strengthen neural pathways, that’s why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
There are certain things that will accelerate the process that would be a normal amount of cognitive decline connected with getting older. Hearing loss, for example, can provide an exceptionally formidable danger for your mental health. Two things take place that powerfully impact your brain when your hearing begins to go:
- 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 might end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. A higher danger of cognitive decline has been linked to these changes.
- You go out less: Self isolation is a very unhealthy behavior, but that’s exactly what some people do when they suffer from hearing loss. Staying home to escape conversations might seem easier than going out and feeling self-conscious (particularly as your neglected hearing loss worsens). This can rob your brain of even more input.
Combined, these two factors can be the cause of a significant change in your brain. Memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and eventually an increased risk of dementia have been related to this type of mental decline.
Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?
So, this mental decline happens because your hearing loss is going untreated. And it’s pretty clear what needs to be done to reverse these declines: have your hearing impairment treated. Usually, this means new hearing aids.
It’s well corroborated and also surprising the extent that hearing aids can slow down cognitive decline. Researchers at the University of Melbourne surveyed approximately 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some kind of hearing loss. 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.
Just using hearing aids resulted in an almost universal improvement. That tells us a couple of things:
- Stimulation is integral to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably helpful. This region of your brain will remain healthy and vital as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).
- One of the main functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And your brain stays more involved when you are social. When you can follow conversations it’s a lot more fun to socialize with your friends.
Sudoko is Still a Good Idea
The University of Melbourne research isn’t an outlier. If you have untreated hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that wearing hearing aids can help decrease cognitive decline. The issue is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. You may not even recognize the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a little spacier than usual, it may be worth checking with your hearing specialist.
You should still keep doing Sudoko and other brain games. Keeping your brain nimble and involved 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.