Does Hearing Loss Affect Introverts and Extroverts Differently?


At the Saskatchewan Hearing Health Conference this year, a group women were enjoying a fine dinner at Golf’s Steakhouse.   All of us live with hearing loss:  three of us have hearing loss, and the fourth is a mother of two young children with hearing loss.  Among other things, we talked about our differences as introverts and extroverts.

It got me wondering.  Does hearing loss affect introverts and extroverts differently?

According to Revenge of the Introvert in Psychology Today, it's often possible to spot introverts by their conversational style. They're the ones doing the listening.  

Listening can be hard work when you have hearing loss.  If the listening environment is particularly noisy, we have to expend a fair amount of energy to understand.  So the introvert with hearing loss may experience even greater fatigue:  first of all from being with other people; and then because listening requires so much effort.

For introverts, a natural response might be to withdraw socially. Or, if the listening demands are too high, there may be a tendency to bluff (pretend to understand).   A study found that in people with hearing loss, ineffective communication strategies (bluffing would be an example), were associated with introversion and loneliness.

After a stressful day, an extrovert is more likely to want to call a friend and talk, or get together with friends—an extrovert is energized by being around people.  Perhaps this is why people who are more extroverted tend to report more benefit from hearing aids. 

Are extroverted people are more likely to get hearing aids in the first place?  I could not find any research on this question. However, one study found that people who wear hearing aids are more likely to be socially active than people who don’t wear hearing aids.  This same study found that people who don’t wear hearing aids are more likely to exhibit introverted behaviour.

So, I guess the answer is yes.  Hearing loss will affect introverts and extroverts differently. 

What is your experience?


Further to my post below about Roger Ebert

Rest in peace. April 5, 2013. "Kindness covers all of my beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and I am glad I lived long enough to find it out." ~Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert's comment on the effects of a communication disorder

I listened to a radio interview on CBC's Q:

with well known film critic Roger Ebert. Since 2006, due to complications of thyroid cancer treatment, Ebert has not been able to speak. He communicates via a computer. He says in the interview that he was previously an extrovert, but that his communication disorder "has turned me inward".