Vision and Hearing Health Inequities in the Roma population: A National Cross-Sectional Study in Spain

J Immigr Minor Health. 2017 Dec;19(6):1304-1314. doi: 10.1007/s10903-016-0489-9.


We analyzed vision and hearing health status in the Spanish Roma population compared with the general population and its influence on mental health and social participation. We conducted a Cross-sectional study on Roma population (n = 1.167) compared to general population in Spain (n = 21.007). We analyzed the use of optical and hearing aids, vision and hearing limitations and associations with mental health, diagnosed depression and social participation; through prevalence, odds ratio adjusted by age (AOR), Chi square independence test and contrast of proportions (p < 0.05). The Roma population are more likely to present vision limitations-far sight AOR = 3.76 (3.13-4.55), near sight AOR = 3.18 (2.33-4.35)-, hearing difficulties-AOR = 1.41 (1.15-1.72)-, and lower use of corrective aids than the general population. These findings were associated with poor mental health and lower social participation (p < 0.01). Vision and hearing limitations affect unequally in Spain. Addressing avoidable vision and hearing impairment among Roma population is needed to reduce health inequities.

Keywords: Ethnicity; Health inequities; Roma population; Vision and hearing impairment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Eyeglasses
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Hearing Aids / statistics & numerical data
  • Hearing Disorders / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health / ethnology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Roma / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Participation
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Vision Disorders / ethnology*
  • Young Adult