Can Hearing Loss Cause A Change In Personality?

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Hearing loss and personality changes

Hearing loss and personality changes

A hearing loss has many physical and mental consequences associated with it. Impaired hearing has a tremendous impact on the social life of the affected individual and their relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. A hearing loss can create feelings of irritation and frustration, guilt, resentment, anxiety, depression, and social isolation. A research study is suggesting that a personality change associated with social isolation may also be a product of hearing loss.

Social Isolation Is Bad For Your Health

Social isolation in the elderly is a crucial problem and health risk. Those individuals who are socially isolated engage in little contact with others and lack fulfilling relationships. Social isolation shares a relationship with:

  • Less energy
  • Increased likelihood of chronic illnesses
  • Extended recovery times for injuries
  • Shorter life span
  • Decreased level of happiness

Hearing loss is a significant contributor to social isolation. Frustration and fatigue associated with hearing loss often cause people to withdraw socially due to embarrassment and the exhaustion resulting from straining to hear others.

The Hearing Loss And Social Isolation Link

Hearing loss presents a tremendous challenge for an individual in a group setting. Following conversations when several people are speaking is a big obstacle, and excessive background noise often found in social situations can be challenging to overcome. The result of this struggle is fatigue. It is no wonder then that persons with hearing loss find it easier to stay at home rather than struggle with the overwhelming challenges of trying to hear in crowded places.

Isolation And Personality

Research supports the idea that hearing loss leads to personality changes that accompany social isolation. Researchers examined 400 individuals aged 80 to 98 over a period of six years. Physical, mental, social, and personality criteria, including extroversion and the tendency to be outgoing, were part of the study. Hearing loss was the one factor connected to the decrease in extraversion. Hearing loss increases the likelihood of being less sociable in the elderly who are hearing-impaired.

What Can Be Done?

Although hearing loss is thought to be associated with personality changes in older adults, steps can be undertaken to help make the process of communication more comfortable for those who are experiencing this hurdle. Here are three measures that may help:

  • Hearing aids. The high-tech hearing aids that are available today can effectively treat hearing loss by providing the amplification needed to interact in group communication settings.
  • Talk to the group in advance. If you experience hearing loss, try letting others in a group know about it in advance. Educating them about your hearing loss will help them be more understanding and help to make communication easier.
  • Help a person with hearing loss. If family members or friends have lost their hearing, try to make communication easier for them. Minimize background noises, find quiet places to communicate, and always speak directly and clearly to them.

Hearing loss impacts one’s physical and mental well-being. Social isolation is often associated with hearing loss, particularly with older adults. This alteration in personality resulting from separation is detrimental to a person’s mental health. It is vital to take steps to address a hearing loss to lessen the fatigue and frustration of trying to communicate in stressful situations.


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