Dual Sensory Impairment Among the Elderly
Vision and hearing impairments are among the most common age-related conditions affecting the elderly. There is an emerging literature regarding the profound functional, social, and physical and mental health consequences of either a vision or hearing impairment in later life.
Type of publication:Scientific publications
Date of publication:08/01/2001
Author(s):Amy Horowitz, Mark Brennan, and Ya-Ping Su
Publishing organization:Lighthouse International
However, there is a dearth of existing knowledge regarding both short- and long-term consequences of dual sensory impairment for older persons.
Yet, with the aging of the population, the numbers of older people experiencing a concurrent age-related loss in vision and hearing can be expected to grow substantially. Even current estimates of the prevalence of dual sensory impairments among the elderly range from 4% to 21%, depending upon used definitions and/or sources of data. However, our current body of knowledge on sensory loss is largely defined by a specific focus on either vision or hearing, with relatively little attention to the confounding effects of a concurrent age-related loss in both vision and hearing. While it has been suggested that "...the presence of two sensory losses increases the functional significance of each one..." (Luey, Belser, & Glass, 1989), little data exist to support or refute this hypothesis.