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Hearing, Vision Impairment Up Odds of Cognitive Decline in Seniors

Last Updated: May 10, 2022.

Sad senior woman sitting at table

TUESDAY, May 10, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Hearing, vision, and dual sensory impairment are associated with cognitive impairment among older adults, according to a study published online April 29 in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease Reports.

Esme Fuller-Thompson, Ph.D., from the University of Toronto, and colleagues conducted a secondary analysis of a combination of 10 consecutive waves of the nationally representative American Community Survey for 2008 to 2017, including a sample of 5.4 million community-dwelling and institutionalized older adults aged 65 years and older. The associations between hearing impairment, vision impairment, and dual sensory impairment with cognitive impairment were examined.

The researchers found that older adults with only hearing impairment had more than double the odds of cognitive impairment after controlling for age, race, education, and income (odds ratio, 2.66), while the odds of cognitive impairment were increased more than threefold for those with only vision impairment (odds ratio, 3.63). The odds of cognitive impairment were increased more than eightfold for older adults with dual sensory impairment (odds ratio, 8.16). In each age and sex cohort, the trends were similar.

"Dual sensory impairment prevents an individual from compensating for the loss of one sense through the use of another," a coauthor said in a statement. "Our findings emphasize the need to reach out to older adults with dual sensory impairment, to assess whether there are opportunities for early intervention."

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