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NCHS Data Brief. 2010 Apr;(31):1-8.

Vision, hearing, balance, and sensory impairment in Americans aged 70 years and over: United States, 1999-2006.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, 3311 Toledo Road, Hyattsville, Maryland 20782, USA.



Sensory impairments are a substantial problem for older Americans: One out of six has impaired vision; one out of four has impaired hearing; one out of four has loss of feeling in the feet; and three out of four have abnormal postural balance testing. Sensory impairments increase with age: Vision and hearing impairments each double, and loss of feeling in the feet increases by 40% in persons aged 80 years and over compared with persons aged 70-79 years. One in five Americans below the poverty threshold has impaired vision: 50% higher than other Americans. Balance problems are also common among the poor. Over one-half of those with impaired vision could improve their eyesight by using glasses or by getting a corrected prescription. For those with hearing problems, 72% might benefit from a hearing aid but do not use one.

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