From IANS, 4/2/2014
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Hearing loss among old people leaves a deep impact in their personality as well, research finds.
The researchers studied 400 people in the age group of 80-98 over a period of six years.
They were assessed in terms of physical and mental measures as well as personality aspects such as extraversion, which reflects the inclination to be outgoing and emotional stability in every two years.
The results show that even if the emotional stability remained constant over the period, the participants became less outgoing.
Thus far, the researchers were not able to connect the observed changes to physical and cognitive impairments or to age-related difficulties finding social activities.
The only factor that could be linked to reduced extraversion was hearing loss.
"This is the first time a link between hearing and personality changes has been established in longitudinal studies. Hearing loss directly affects the quality of social situations," explained Anne Ingeborg Berg from department of psychology at University of Gothenburg.
The study throws interesting lights on personality development among the elderly and also points out the importance of acknowledging and treating hearing loss among the elderly.
"Even if we can't conclude anything about causal relationships, we can guess that the link between hearing loss and social withdrawal forms a potential threat to older people's wellbeing," the researchers said.