Communication has a strong effect on who we become. Through our developmental years of childhood and continuing through adulthood, we learn from others how to understand the world, and we develop our own patterns of response. The meanings we associate with the things we encounter in the world help us develop a unique sense of self, and these idiosyncrasies are the cornerstone of personality.
With these principles of social psychology in mind, what role does our hearing ability play in personality development? The answer depends heavily on the age at which hearing loss or impairment occurs. Another important factor in the relationship between hearing ability and personality is access to support resources. Although children with hearing loss are more likely to develop behavioral issues, those who have adequate support can see that tendency disappear.
Let’s take a look at the process of personality development and the way that hearing plays a part in how we interface with the world. With these principles in mind, we can better understand the relationship between hearing loss and personality.
Early Childhood Development and Hearing
Some children with hearing loss are diagnosed at a very young age. When parents and caretakers are able to step in with support services right away, many children are able to learn and socialize along with their hearing counterparts. However, some children are not offered the support they need. This deficit accounts for the higher levels of behavioral issues among children with hearing loss than their hearing counterparts. Personality traits like introversion are often associated with hearing impairment, and to some degree this is a learned dimension of personality.
When hearing is seriously limited, children are not able to connect with others through speech. In addition to the basics of communication, hearing loss can also cause educational limitations if not diagnosed. These educational challenges can dovetail with other personality and behavioral issues, particularly when the learning process that comes easily to other students is impeded by a lack of hearing ability.
Age-Related Hearing Loss
A parallel but different process can occur in the case of age-related hearing loss. The frustrations that compound with the onset of hearing loss can lead to friction in many interpersonal relationships. Many people with untreated age-related hearing loss find that they are angry or frustrated in some otherwise familiar situations. When the frustration builds, it can seem like a person’s entire personality is changed by hearing loss. Those who were not angry or short-tempered in the past might have sudden outbursts of frustration.
On the other hand, some people who used to be social butterflies find the difficulty communicating to be disheartening. They might recede from social settings, preferring to stay home and save themselves from the embarrassment of not being able to understand others. Social isolation has a strong relationship with depression, and those who did not experience depression in the past might find themselves tending toward these feelings as a result of untreated hearing loss.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although these changes might feel like permanent shifts in personality, they are in fact strongly related to hearing loss itself. When that condition is diagnosed and treated, many people will find their personalities freed from the constant frustration that comes with an inability to communicate. The sooner diagnosis occurs, the better for all involved. Children who are diagnosed in early life have the best outcomes in terms of educational attainment and social integration. When treatment is available, putting that into practice can eliminate some of the behavioral issues seen in many hearing-impaired children.
In adulthood, treatment in the form of hearing aids can restore the ability to communicate with others, relieving an enormous amount of frustration and tension. As relationships return to a state of ease and fluidity, many people find their personalities shifting away from isolation and depression and toward social connections and energy. With these many benefits in store, why not make an appointment for a hearing test today.
The quick diagnosis of your needs can point you toward the right treatment to suit your condition. As we know, the sooner you get hearing aids and put them into use, the sooner you can reap the reward for your social and mental wellbeing! Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.