Dual sensory impairment in older adults increases the risk of mortality

a population-based study

Bamini Gopinath, Julie Schneider, Catherine M. McMahon, George Burlutsky, Stephen R. Leeder, Paul Mitchell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Although concurrent vision and hearing loss are common in older adults, population-based data on their relationship with mortality is limited. This cohort study investigated the association between objectively measured dual sensory impairment (DSI) with mortality risk over 10 years. 2812 Blue Mountains Eye Study participants aged 55 years and older at baseline were included for analyses. Visual impairment was defined as visual acuity less than 20/40 (better eye), and hearing impairment as average pure-tone air conduction threshold greater than 25 dB HL (500-4000 Hz, better ear). Ten-year all-cause mortality was confirmed using the Australian National Death Index. After ten years, 64% and 11% of participants with DSI and no sensory loss, respectively, had died. After multivariable adjustment, participants with DSI (presenting visual impairment and hearing impairment) compared to those with no sensory impairment at baseline, had 62% increased risk of all-cause mortality, hazard ratio, HR, 1.62 (95% confidence intervals, CI, 1.16-2.26). This association was more marked in those with both moderate-severe hearing loss (>40 dB HL) and presenting visual impairment, HR 1.84 (95% CI 1.19-2.86). Participants with either presenting visual impairment only or hearing impairment only, did not have an increased risk of mortality, HR 1.05 (95% CI 0.61-1.80) and HR 1.24 (95% CI 0.99-1.54), respectively. Concurrent best-corrected visual impairment and moderate-severe hearing loss was more strongly associated with mortality 10 years later, HR 2.19 (95% CI 1.20-4.03). Objectively measured DSI was an independent predictor of total mortality in older adults. DSI was associated with a risk of death greater than that of either vision loss only or hearing loss alone.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55054
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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