|Title||Personality and hearing acuity: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2019|
|Authors||Stephan, Y, Sutin, AR, Caille, P, Terracciano, A|
|Keywords||English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, hearing, hearing acuity, Personality|
OBJECTIVE:Several determinants of age-related hearing impairment have been identified, but little is known about the predictive value of psychological factors. The present study examined whether five-factor model personality traits are prospectively associated with hearing acuity in middle-aged and older adults. METHODS:Participants were adults aged 50 to 97 years (N> 10,000) drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS, 2012-2016) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA, 2010-2014). In each sample, personality, demographic factors, health-related behaviors, BMI, and memory function were assessed at baseline and objective hearing acuity was measured four years later. RESULTS:In both samples, higher conscientiousness and openness were associated with better hearing acuity and lower risk of impairment, whereas neuroticism was associated with a higher risk of hearing impairment. In the HRS and ELSA respectively, 1 SD higher conscientiousness and openness and 1 SD lower neuroticism were related to a 13-10%, 8-6%, and 10-13% lower likelihood of hearing impairment, respectively. In both samples, additional analyses revealed that physical activity and memory mediated the association between personality and hearing. CONCLUSIONS:The present study provides robust evidence for an association between personality traits and hearing function. The findings broaden knowledge on risk and mitigating factors for age-related hearing impairment, which has implications for the quality of life of middle-aged and older adults.