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Logo for the Journal of Rehab R&D
Volume 43 Number 5, September/October 2006
Pages 777 — 792

Abstract - Longitudinal associations between dual sensory impairment and everyday competence among older adults

Mark Brennan, PhD;* Ya-ping Su, PhD; Amy Horowitz, DSW

Lighthouse Internat
ional, New York, NY
Abstract-Given the prevalence of sensory impairment in older adults, the relationship of sensory impairment to everyday competence among older adults is gaining attention. Dual impairment, or concurrent impairments of vision and hearing, affects anywhere from 5% to 21% of older adults. Using Longitudinal Study on Aging data, we examined the longitudinal associations of self-reported dual sensory impairment with everyday competence in self-reported activities of daily living among adults aged 70 and older (N = 5,151). Self-reported dual sensory impairment was associated with higher levels of self-reported functional disability at baseline and at the 2-year follow-up interview, but the effect gradually diminished over time. However, self-reported dual sensory impairment was not associated with greater levels of self-reported disability as compared with self-reported visual impairment alone. Findings highlight the importance of vision and aural rehabilitation programs for older adults to mitigate the loss of competence in later life due to sensory impairment.
Key words: activities of daily living, chronic illness, disability, dual sensory impairment, functional competence, hearing impairment, older adults, rehabilitation, sensory impairment, visual impairment.

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