We hear so many things about hearing loss including:
While these are all important topics to discuss and details to know, many headlines these days dig deeper into the often unseen effects of hearing loss.
And many of these are rooted in personality changes and social isolation, which often occurs as people’s hearing is lost.
Experts believe that as people lose their hearing and find it more difficult to communicate (especially when the hearing loss is untreated) and interact with others. With the increased anxiety and stress that often comes with socializing, they become less extroverted as it may seem easier to withdraw from the people and activities they used to enjoy.
Root of the problem
While social isolation and the health risks it may lead to has for some time been linked with hearing ling, recent research from the University of Gothenburg confirmed this tendency to withdraw when people develop hearing loss. In the study, 400 individuals aged 80-98 were followed over six years. They were evaluated on physical, mental, social, and personality factors.
Researchers found that a decrease in extraversion, one of the factors evaluated during the study, could only be linked to the participants’ hearing loss. While some may argue that the tendency to withdraw is age-related, the study indicated that hearing loss still increases the likelihood of this shift to be less outgoing.
This connection between hearing loss and decreased social activity doesn’t just mean a more relaxing social calendar. It can be an alarming health risk. Over time, it can lead to social isolation, which can damage vital social connections and lead to those even more significant concerns of depression, anxiety, cognitive decline and premature death.
What this means
If you or someone you know has hearing loss, nurturing your social connections may be one of the most important things you do for your health:
Don’t let hearing loss change your personality and push you into social isolation. Treat your hearing loss and keep going strong!