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Prev Med. 2008 Oct;47(4):433-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.06.011. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Gender difference in the relationships between vision and hearing impairments and negative well-being.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.



To evaluate the association of hearing impairment, vision impairment and their combination (dual sensory impairment) with negative well-being such as depression, subjective poor health and the reduced functional ability in community-dwelling older adults, and to determine whether any association varies by gender.


Between 2005 and 2006, we objectively examined vision and hearing impairment (using best-corrected visual acuity and pure-tone audiometric test) in 843 people aged 65 years and older (351 males, 492 females) in a rural Japanese town. Through a home visit interview survey using a structured questionnaire, we also collected information on depression (the five-item Geriatric Depression Scale), subjective poor health, and reduced functional activity (the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology's Index of Competence).


We observed gender differences in the association between sensory impairment and depression. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that hearing impairment in males (adjusted odds ratio: 2.22, 95% confidence interval; 1.07-4.61) and vision impairment in females (1.91, 1.14-3.21) were related to depression. Vision impairment and dual sensory impairment were also associated with subjective poor health and reduced functional activity in both sexes.


Sensory impairment is significantly associated with negative well-being in older persons, and its association with depression may differ between males and females.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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