Researchers could not connect the changes to most physical or cognitive impairments, or to difficulty finding social activities. Hearing loss was the only thing linked to reduced extraversion, and use of hearing aids did not affect this link -- indicating to researchers that providing support in the use of such aids is key.
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"To our knowledge, this is the first time a link between hearing and personality changes has been established in longitudinal studies.... If the perceived quality of social interaction goes down, it may eventually affect whether and how we relate to others," said Anne Ingeborg Berg, PhD, licensed psychologist and researcher at the Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg.
"Our previous studies have shown that outgoing individuals are happier with their lives. It is hypothesised that an outgoing personality reflects a positive approach to life, but it also probably shows how important it is for most people to share both joy and sadness with others," she added.The study was published in the Journal of Personality.