Vision impairment and hearing loss among community-dwelling older Americans: implications for health and functioning

Am J Public Health. 2004 May;94(5):823-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.5.823.


Objectives: We investigated the health, activity, and social participation of people aged 70 years or older with vision impairment, hearing loss, or both.

Methods: We examined the 1994 Second Supplement on Aging to determine the health and activities of these 3 groups compared with those without sensory loss. We calculated odds ratios and classified variables according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework.

Results: Older people with only hearing loss reported disparities in health, activities, and social roles; those with only vision impairment reported greater disparities; and those with both reported the greatest disparities.

Conclusions: A hierarchical pattern emerged as impairments predicted consistent disparities in activities and social participation. This population's patterns of health and activities have public health implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Surveys
  • Hearing Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population Surveillance
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology*