Could untreated hearing loss impact our personality?
Posted on Aug 25, 2015
Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, we can now expect to far outlive our ancestors before us. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, children born in 2011-2013 can expect to live over an astonishing 30 years longer than those born in 1881-18901.
However, with life expectancy in 2015 estimated to reach a ripe old 80 and 84 years for men and women respectively2, the question remains: How are our bodies adapting to living for longer?
One of the most prevalent age-related conditions, presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is expected to affect 50-60 per cent of people 60 years and older in Australasia, according to the National Foundation for the Deaf3.
When left untreated, the condition itself tends to worsen, but new research suggests that the effects of hearing loss could be broader than auditory function.
Hearing loss and the ageing personality
Researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found a correlation between increasing levels of introversion in old age and hearing loss.
This link is thought to be possible due to the fact that untreated hearing loss could result in seniors choosing to withdraw from social situations where they find it difficult to hear4.
"To our knowledge, this is the first time a link between hearing and personality changes has been established in longitudinal studies," said psychologist Dr Anne Ingeborg Berg.
"Hearing loss directly affects the quality of social situations. If the perceived quality of social interaction goes down, it may eventually affect whether and how we relate to others."4
If you believe a loved one is being affected by untreated hearing loss, and could benefit from a hearing solution, click here or call 1300 308 125 to request a no cost* appointment with your local HEARINGLife clinic.
1AIHW, Life Expectancy. Accessed August 24, 2015.
2ABS, Gender Indicators, Australia, Feb 2015. Accessed August 24, 2015.
3National Foundation for the Deaf, Age-related hearing loss. Accessed August 24, 2015.
4University of Gothenburg, Hearing loss affects old people's personality. Accessed August 24, 2015.