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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 41 Number 5, Septembe/October 2004
Pages 669 — 674


Visual and hearing impairment in elderly patients hospitalized for rehabilitation following hip fracture

Devora Lieberman, MD; Michael Friger, PhD; David Lieberman, MD

Department of Geriatrics, Division of Internal Medicine, Unit of Epidemiology, Soroka Medical Center and Faculty
of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel
Abstract — In a prospective study, we assessed the prevalence and significance of visual and hearing impairment in 896 patients who were hospitalized for rehabilitation following hip fracture. Visual impairment was defined as visual acuity equal to worse than 6/60 in the better of the two eyes. Hearing impairment was defined as mean decibel level equal to or higher than 60 in the better of the two ears. Visual impairment was found in 210 patients (23.4%) and hearing impairment was found in 231 patients (25.8%). Simultaneous visual and hearing impairment was seen in 72 patients (8%). In univariate analysis, the absolute efficacy of rehabilitation was significantly lower in patients with visual impairment compared to those without (p = 0.00001) and in patients with hearing impairment compared to those without (p = 0.002). However, in multivariate analysis, visual, but not hearing, impairment was found to be independently associated with the absolute efficacy of rehabilitation (p = 0.001). In light of these results, we propose that in the first phase of rehabilitation, patients' visual acuity needs to be optimized.
Key words: aging, elderly, hearing impairment, hip fracture, rehabilitation, sensory impairment, visual impairment.

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