Personality captures dissociations of subjective versus objective hearing in noise

Malte Wöstmann*, Julia Erb, Jens Kreitewolf, Jonas Obleser

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Acoustic noise is pervasive in human environments. Some individuals are more tolerant to noise than others. We demonstrate the explanatory potential of Big-5 personality traits neuroticism (being emotionally unstable) and extraversion (being enthusiastic, outgoing) on subjective self-report and objective psycho-acoustic metrics of hearing in noise in two samples (total N = 1103). Under statistical control for demographics and in agreement with pre-registered hypotheses, lower neuroticism and higher extraversion independently explained superior self-reported noise resistance, speech-hearing ability and acceptable background noise levels. Surprisingly, objective speech-in-noise recognition instead increased with higher levels of neuroticism. In turn, the bias in subjectively overrating one's own hearing in noise decreases with higher neuroticism but increases with higher extraversion. Of benefit to currently underspecified frameworks of hearing in noise and tailored audiological treatments, these results show that personality explains inter-individual differences in coping with acoustic noise, which is a ubiquitous source of distraction and a health hazard.

Original languageEnglish
Article number210881
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

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