Does sensory impairment affect your health?

Created date

November 1st, 2019
A hand is held up to an ear, cupped to try to improve hearing.

A hand is held up to an ear, cupped to try to improve hearing.

Researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore have found that certain impairments in the senses of older adults are associated with differences in health and life expectancy. 

The study, recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, showed that problems with vision and hearing, especially if they are present at the same time, seem to have the most impact on seniors’ health. The researchers found that people with both impairments could expect to spend 62% of their remaining life with physical function limitations, compared to 38% of older adults with neither impairment. In addition, they found that older adults without vision or hearing deficits lived about four years longer. 

In other studies, vision and hearing problems have been associated with difficulty performing activities of daily living, social isolation, cognitive decline, depression, and poor self-rated health. The researchers say that their findings may help older adults, their families, health care providers, and policymakers understand the impact of sensory impairments, and to find ways to improve the quality and quantity of life in older adults affected by them.