Dual sensory impairment and hearing aid use among clients attending low-vision services in Australia: the vision-hearing project

Julie M. Schneider, Catherine M. McMahon, Bamini Gopinath, Annette Kifley, Rebecca Barton, Paul Mitchell, Stephen R. Leeder, Jie Jin Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To report the frequency of hearing impairment among vision rehabilitation clients, and to identify patterns of hearing service and aid use. Method: In the Vision-Hearing Project, 300 participants (65+ years) completed interviews and a hearing test at low-vision clinics. Visual impairment was defined as visual acuity <20/40 (better eye) wearing glasses if owned, and hearing impairment as average pure-tone air conduction threshold >25 dB hearing level (HL) over four frequencies (500, 1000, 2000, 4000 Hz, better ear). Dual sensory impairment (DSI) was defined as presence of both impairments. Results: Bilateral hearing impairment was identified in 79.7% of participants and DSI in 62.1%. Only 59.8% of hearing impaired participants owned hearing aids and 33.8% reported low use (<1 hr/day). Discussion: Four in five low-vision clients experience hearing impairment, and many have unmet needs. New models of sensory assessment that take account of hearing and vision are needed to support early detection and timely rehabilitation for DSI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-249
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

Keywords

  • dual sensory impairment
  • hearing loss
  • older adults
  • vision loss

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