Hearing loss effects on mood

Hearing loss effects on mood

Nearly 17 percent of U.S. adults experience some type of hearing loss in their lifetime, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).

A new study from the University of Gothenburg took a look at how hearing loss can affect a person’s personality and mood. Researchers followed 400 people between the ages of 80 and 98 for six years. They analyzed each person’s physical and mental abilities, along with their personality levels every two years.

They found that most became less outgoing and linked this trait to the loss of hearing in particular participants.

“To our knowledge, this is the first time a link between hearing and personality changes has been established in longitudinal studies. Surprisingly, we did not find that declining overall health and functional capacity make people less outgoing. But 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,’ said Anne Ingeborg Berg, PhD, licensed psychologist and one of the lead researchers of the study, in a statement.

Researchers hope their results help stress the importance of addressing hearing loss earlier and helping those affected get treatment as soon as hearing loss starts.

The study results, published last month in the Journal of Personality, also support the use of hearing aids as an intervention and treatment.

“Our previous studies have shown that outgoing individuals are happier with their lives. It is hypothesized 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. 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,” Berg said.

Dr. Aijaz Alvi, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill., says there are signs to watch for as to whether or not people may need hearing aids.

“If you are frequently asking people to repeat what they’ve said, prefer the television or radio louder than what other people prefer, or are having difficulty understanding conversations in a group, you may be a candidate for a hearing aid,” he said. “The best way to tell if you really need hearing aids is to get your hearing checked by an audiologist to determine the level of hearing loss and the type of hearing loss.”

Related Posts



  1. Unless you have hearing loss, one likely cannot understand how it affects a person’s willingness to be social. As one who has lost some hearing due to long years of playing drums, I have difficulty hearing conversations in noisy situations and often left to nodding my head as if I understand what the person is telling me. You can only say, “Can you repeat that?” a limited number of times.

  2. Our exclusive Dialog Emphasis sound processing uses hearing aid technology to make voices unbelievably clear and easy to understand. We have had so many people with hearing loss tell us that they can listen to TV at “normal” levels and hear what people are saying. I just want to let people know we can help… http://bit.ly/PeSIYb

  3. The problem with hearing loss in the ederly is that there is a high cost for the price of them. The cost for hearing aids are in the thousands and most insurances don’t cover that. If there is a way to get around that cost please contact me back with any information. My Mother is in that situation and has Medicare and a suppliment insurance and neither cover the cost. She needs a hearing aid because you sometimes have to say things two three times for her to hear you and it is frustrating to both of us. Any information that can help would be apprieciated.

  4. It can be quite uncomfortable at times when you often find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, or just giving in and smiling and nodding although you have no idea what the person has said – but if you find yourselves in these situations should definitely get a check – better to catch it earlier on than let it get worse.

  5. I was sick when I was 24, and lost a substantial about of hearing.

    Workplace Number One: I didn’t have hearing aids at this time. My boss went to the extent of cupping his hands into a megaphone and yelling “DID YOU HEAR THAT JENNY?”. I was so embarrased.

    Workplace Number Two: People went out of their way to avoid talking to me. Even ordering a pizza, I’d be the only one with no food. Once I got my first set of hearing aids, it was “I always wanted to talk to you, you seem so nice”. All you had to do was try!!!!!

    I’ve had help twice now from my states Vocational Rehabiliation Center. This round has taken almost a year. Complete Psych Eval, 8 counseling sessions…finally new hearing aids. Now my mom and brothers can talk to me without eyerolling and snapping. I no longer have to go upstairs and cry because of the embarrassment of asking “What?” every time someone spoke to me. Finally my mom has stopped ordered Better Hearing brochures for me, and stopped sending me financial aid for hearing aids links……

    Though she still thinks I cannot live alone. Whatever. There are alarms that shake the bed, so don’t tell me I can’t do something.

Subscribe to health enews newsletter

About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.