Because of its simplicity, soduku is a globally popular puzzle game. A pencil, some numbers, and a few grids are all that’s required. For many people, a Sudoku puzzle book is a way to pass the hours. That it gives your brain a workout is an added perk.
“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing cognitive decline. But there are other ways of slowing down cognitive decline. At times, your brain requires a boost in mental stimulation and research has shown that hearing aids could be capable of filling that role.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it disposition. Without stimulation, neural pathways have the tendency to fizzle out. Your brain has to forge and reinforce neural pathways, that’s the reason why Sudoku works, it keeps you mentally active.
While a certain amount of mental decline is a normal part of aging, there are some things that can accelerate or exacerbate that decline. A particularly potent risk for your cognitive health, as an example, is hearing loss. When your hearing starts to decline, two things occur that powerfully impact your brain:
- You can’t hear as well: When you have less sound input, your auditory cortex (the part of your brain responsible for everything hearing-related) receives reduced stimulation. Your brain might end up changing in a way that causes it to prioritize other senses like sight. These changes have been linked to a higher risk of cognitive decline.
- You don’t go out as much: Neglected hearing loss can cause some individuals to self-isolate in a detrimental way. As your hearing loss progresses, it might just seem simpler to stay inside to escape conversation. But this is not a good idea as it can rob your brain of that needed stimulation.
Combined, these two things can be the cause of a major change in your brain. Loss of memory, trouble concentrating, and eventually an increased risk of dementia have been connected to this kind of cognitive decline.
Is Cognitive Decline Reversable With Hearing Aids?
So if your hearing loss is neglected, this kind of mental decline can be the outcome. This means that the number one way to reverse those declines is fairly obvious: deal with your hearing impairment! Usually, this means new hearing aids.
It’s well substantiated and also unexpected the degree that hearing aids can slow down mental decline. Experts at the University of Melbourne surveyed about 100 adults between the ages of 62-82, all of whom had some form of hearing loss. Over 97% of those adults who used their hearing aids for at least 18 months reported 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 key to your mental health, so that means anything that keeps your auditory cortex active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably advantageous. This portion of your brain will stay vital and healthy as long as you continue to hear ( with help from hearing aids).
- One of the principal functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And your brain stays more involved when you stay social. When you can hear conversations it’s much more enjoyable to hang out with your friends.
Sudoko is Still a Good Idea
The University of Melbourne study isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have untreated hearing loss, many studies have demonstrated that using hearing aids can help slow cognitive decline. The problem is that not everybody recognizes that they have hearing loss. You may not even recognize the early symptoms. So if you’re feeling forgetful, strained, or even a bit spacier than usual, 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 flexible and give you better general cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you exercise your brain and keep yourself cognitively fit.