Saturday, February 25, 2012

How Does Being an Extrovert or an Introvert Affect Being Deaf?

I recently finished a very interesting book called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (Amazon affiliate link). Susan Cain uses this book as an introduction to the thought processes of extroverts and introverts, the latter of whom make up about 1/3 to 1/2 of the population. She explores their different ways of thinking and approaching things, why some countries lean more heavily on either side of the spectrum, and how extroverts and introverts can get along in business and personal relationships.

As I read, I couldn't help thinking about how a person's life with deafness may be changed whether they are an extrovert or an introvert.

I'm an introvert myself and I consider myself well adapted to the challenges that come from not being able to hear. I think being an introvert has actually helped me, although I wouldn't have thought that before reading this book. Being more introspective, thinking about things more carefully, and approaching new things more cautiously may have helped me recognize how I might have to modify my approach because I'm not able to hear as well as others.

Passionate Introverts
From Flickr user Charlyn W
Of course, it can be limiting as well. I don't enjoy being as social as other people do, so I do not have as much experience in intimidating social situations where I could learn how to make sure I hear more easily. And being an introvert limits wanting to go meet new D/deaf people and market myself.

Although I sometimes have a hard time understanding extroverts, I can see where a D/deaf extrovert might experience positives and negatives based on their approach to the world.

An extroverted person with a hearing loss may have a wider network of support and people to turn to, as well as more people who know about their deafness. They may be more able to explain to people what accommodations they need and be more willing to push for changes.

On the other hand they may find themselves limited by their hearing loss and frustrated when they can't follow along in a conversation they are interested in. If loud noises hurt their ears (through hearing aids/cochlear implants) they might not be able to go to loud concerts, sports events, etc. that they enjoy.

I'd love to hear perspectives from extroverted and introverted people with hearing loss. What do you think?


  1. The hearing experience of a HoH person is all about adding the sensations of hearing, speech reading and all other factors to create a total comprehension. The flip side of being an introvert is one will get less opportunity of the multiple exposure and the brain will get less opportunity of using the facilities. Ultimately your skill of total comprehension will diminish

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  4. No research has been done, that I know of, where it claims that introverted hoh persons will lack comprehension skills.

    From what I experienced, being an introvert makes it more difficult for someone to not seek accommodations or help when needed. Also, introverted people may not feel the need to talk about their hearing loss or advocate for themselves.

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  6. I agree, the idea that an introvert would lose comprehension skills just from being an introvert doesn't ring true for me. I'm an introvert and I still talk to people constantly. Even if I didn't, not all communication needs to be verbal.

    Totally guilty of not advocating for myself, although I'm trying to be better. :)

  7. I'm an extroverted introvert, go figure :)

  8. I've had this book on my "to read" list for awhile; you may have just encouraged me to bump it up to the top! I'm a hard-of-hearing introvert, severely deaf but wear hearing aids that help some. I have progressive loss that started in my late childhood and is progressing more rapidly as I age. I'm 35 now. I often wonder if I'm introverted because of the difficulties I've had with communication in social situations or if that introversion is really who I am. I remember being much more confident and outgoing when I was younger than I am now. I'm practically terrified of social situations these days but it doesn't mean I've lost communication skills-I'm an excellent public speaker and writer. I just do not possess the ability to hear the other side of a conversation.


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