Hearing and vision impairment and social isolation over 8 years in community-dwelling older adults

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Little is known about the long-term impact of hearing and vision impairment on social isolation. This study quantifies the association between hearing, vision, and concurrent hearing and vision impairment (dual sensory impairment) and social isolation over 8 years among older adults. Methods: Data were from the National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), a cohort study (2011 – 2019) of U.S. Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years and older. Social isolation was measured by a binary indicator incorporating four domains: living arrangement, core discussion network size, religious attendance, and social participation. Hearing, vision, and dual sensory impairments were measured by self-report and modeled categorically (no impairment [ref.], hearing impairment only, vision impairment only, dual sensory impairment). Associations between sensory impairments and odds of social isolation over 8 years were assessed using multivariate generalized logistic mixed models and adjusted for demographic and health characteristics. Results: Among 5,552 participants, 18.9% self-reported hearing impairment, 4.8% self-reported vision impairment, and 2.3% self-reported dual sensory impairment. Over 8 years, hearing impairment only was associated with 28% greater odds of social isolation. Participants with hearing impairment only were more likely to live alone and have limited social participation. Conclusion: Greater clinical awareness of hearing impairment as a risk factor for social isolation can increase opportunities to identify and aid older adults who may benefit from resources and interventions to increase social connection and mitigate social isolation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number779
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2024


  • Hearing impairment
  • Longitudinal
  • Social isolation
  • Vision impairment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Hearing and vision impairment and social isolation over 8 years in community-dwelling older adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this