I just got back from a wonderful 36 hours (yes, 36 hours) with my oldest son, Zack, at Epcot in Walt Disney World.  It was a wonderful mother-son bonding experience during which he told me that I am nuts. Or maybe he used the word crazy which is something my children say often to me. I guess I don’t act my age.

I just took one of those silly questionnaires that are going around the internet to see how old you really are. I came out at 33. Thank goodness I am not 33 or anywhere near that decade. I like the older decades better. They are more freeing for you and who you want to be.

Which brings us to a study conducted by The University of Gothenburg, Sweden on personality and how hearing loss affects us. The researchers studied 400 individuals 80-98 years old over a six-year period. Every 2 years, the subjects were assessed in terms of physical and mental measures as well as personality aspects such as extraversion, and emotional stability. They define extraversion as the inclination to be outgoing. The results showed that even if emotional stability remained constant over the period, the participants became less outgoing.

The researchers were not able to connect the observed changes to physical and cognitive impairments or age-related difficulties. The only factor that could be linked to reduced extraversion was hearing loss.

According to Anne Ingeborg Berg, PhD at the University who helped with this study, “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 situation. If the perceived quality of social interaction goes down, it may eventually affect whether and how we relate to others.”

According to the research conclusions, it yields interesting knowledge about personality development late in life and points to the importance of acknowledging and treating hearing loss among the elderly with getting them to wear hearing aids.

I wear two hearing aids. So I guess I am lucky in that I will continue to be nuts as long as I live. Aren’t my boys lucky?