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Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 Sep;19(9):825-32.

Combined effect of vision and hearing impairment on depression in elderly Chinese.

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Sau Po Centre on Aging, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.



Sensory impairment and depression are common in old age and the relation between depression and vision as well as hearing impairment have been established. However, few studies have directly compared their effects and examined the impact of dual sensory loss. The purpose of this study is to compare impacts of self-reported hearing and vision loss as well as the effect of double sensory impairment on depression.


This article analyzes cross-sectional data collected from a representative community sample of 2,003 Chinese elderly people aged 60 or above in Hong Kong. Respondents were interviewed in a face-to-face format and data including vision and hearing impairment, socio-demographic variables, health indicators, family support, and depression were obtained.


Logistic regression analyses revealed that visual impairment was significantly related to depression even after age, gender, marital status, education, self-reported health status, the presence of 11 diseases, functional limitation and family support were controlled but hearing loss was not. Hearing impairment did not add to the likelihood of depression where visual impairment was already present.


The impact of visual impairment on psychological well-being among elderly Chinese is more robust than hearing loss. Therefore, aged care service practitioners must take this risk factor into consideration in their preventive intervention and treatment for psychological well-being.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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