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Because of its simplicity, soduku is one of the world’s most popular puzzle games. All you need to play is some grids, a pencil, and some numbers. A very enjoyable way to pass some time, for many, is a soduku puzzle book. That it gives your brain a workout is an additional bonus.

“Brain workouts” have become a popular way of addressing mental decline. But there are other ways of slowing mental decline. Current studies have shown that hearing aids might be capable of providing your brain with a nice little boost in mental activation, slowing down the progression of cognitive decline.

What is Cognitive Decline?

Your brain has a very use-it-or-lose-it temperament. Without stimulation, neural connections will fizzle. That’s why Sudoku tends to keep you mentally active: it causes your brain to think, to creatively develop and strengthen numerous neural pathways.

There are a few things that will speed up the process that would be an ordinary amount of cognitive decline connected with getting older. Hearing loss, as an example, can provide a really potent peril for your mental health. Two things occur that powerfully affect your brain when your hearing starts to wain:

  • You can’t hear as well: There’s not as much sound going in to stimulate your auditory cortex (the hearing center of the brain). This can cause changes in your brain (in some circumstances, for instance, your brain starts to prioritize visual information; but that’s not true for everybody). A higher risk of cognitive decline has been linked to these changes.
  • You go out less: Self isolation is a very detrimental behavior, but that’s exactly what some individuals do when they suffer from hearing loss. As your hearing loss increases, it might just seem easier to stay inside to escape conversation. This can rob your brain of even more input.

These two factors, when put together, can cause your brain to change in major ways. This mental decline has frequently been linked to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and (over time) greater danger of mental illness including dementia.

Can Hearing Aids Reverse Declines?

So if your hearing loss is ignored, this kind of cognitive decline can be the result. And it’s pretty clear what you need to do to reverse these declines: get your hearing loss treated. In most cases, this means new hearing aids.

The amount that hearing aids can slow cognitive decline is both unexpected and well-corroborated. 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, over 97% revealed that their mental decline either stopped or reversed.

Just wearing hearing aids resulted in a nearly universal improvement. We can learn a couple of things from this:

  • One of the primary functions of hearing aids is to keep you in your social circle. And your brain remains more engaged when you are social. It’s easier (and more enjoyable) to talk with your friends when you can follow the conversation!
  • Stimulation is key to your mental health, so that means anything that helps your auditory cortex stay active when it otherwise wouldn’t be, is probably beneficial. As long as you continue to hear (with the assistance of hearing aids), this essential region of your brain will continue to be stimulated, dynamic, and healthy.

Sudoko is Still a Good Idea

The University of Melbourne research isn’t the only one of it’s kind. If you have neglected hearing loss, numerous studies have shown that using hearing aids can help decrease cognitive decline. The dilemma is that not everyone recognizes that they have hearing loss. The symptoms can sneak up on you. So if you’re feeling strained, forgetful, or even a little spacier than normal, 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 pliable and give you better general cognitive function. Both hearing aids and Sudoku can help you work out your brain and keep yourself mentally fit.

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