03 June 2014

Hearing loss can affect the personality of seniors

Hearing loss has been discovered to have a deep impact on the personality and social life of the elderly, a Swedish study reveals.

It is commonly known that people become less outgoing with age. This change of personality has been discovered to be amplified among people suffering from hearing loss. Acknowledging and treating hearing loss in the elderly population is the solution, according to researchers.

Hearing loss affects personality

In a study carried out by Swedish researchers, 400 individuals aged 80-98 years were studied over a six-year period. Every two years, the elderly were assessed in terms of physical and mental measures as well as personality aspects such as their extraversion and emotional stability.

During the six-year period, the researchers discovered that even if their emotional stability remained the same the participants became less outgoing. Surprisingly, the researchers were not able to connect the change of personality to physical and cognitive impairment or the difficulties of finding social activities at an older age.

The only factor that the researcher could link to reduced extraversion among the subjects was hearing loss. According to the researchers, the results prove that hearing loss directly affects quality of life in regards to social situations. Furthermore, the study sheds light on personality development later in life.

Hearing increases wellbeing

The findings of the study emphasize the importance of acknowledging and treating hearing loss among seniors e.g. with hearing aids.

Previous studies have found that outgoing individuals are happier with their lives. While the researchers cannot conclude anything about causal relationship, they found it plausible that the link between hearing loss and social withdrawal forms a threat to older people’s wellbeing.

About the study

The study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and published in the Journal of Personality.

Source: www.eurekalert.org

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