May 2008
Volume 49, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   May 2008
Association Between Moderate Hearing Loss and Vision in a Population of Elders
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • M. E. Schneck
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, California
  • L. A. Lott
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, California
  • G. Haegerström-Portnoy
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, California
    School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California
  • J. A. Brabyn
    Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, California
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  M.E. Schneck, None; L.A. Lott, None; G. Haegerström-Portnoy, None; J.A. Brabyn, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  Supported by NIH EY09588 to JAB and SKERI
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2008, Vol.49, 2889. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      M. E. Schneck, L. A. Lott, G. Haegerström-Portnoy, J. A. Brabyn; Association Between Moderate Hearing Loss and Vision in a Population of Elders. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):2889.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : To examine the association between hearing deficits and vision in an older population of community dwelling individuals.

Methods: : A vision test battery and a screening test of hearing (40 db tones presented monaurally twice per ear at 500, 2000, 4000 Hz) were administered to 446 older adults (aged 67 - 107, mean 79.9, median 78.6). Vision was tested binocularly with habitual correction, and all vision tests were graded on a logarithmic scale. Hearing was graded as pass or fail (failure: heard no tones in either ear). Other factors considered were age, sex, education level, depression status, smoking status, history of cataract (medical records or self-report), and self-reported presence/absence of six medical conditions (heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, cancer and arthritis).

Results: : In preliminary univariate analyses, each vision measure was significantly related to hearing status (poorer vision, poorer hearing). However, in logistic regression models controlling for age, we found that high contrast acuity, low contrast (~16%) acuity, contrast sensitivity, glare recovery time and stereopsis were not related to hearing loss. In these models, only SKILL Dark acuity (low contrast, low luminance acuity), low contrast (~10%) acuity, and glare disability were significantly associated with moderate hearing loss. In addition, history of cataract surgery and self-reported history of stroke were independently associated with hearing status. In stepwise analyses including variables that were significantly associated with hearing, SKILL Dark acuity, age and history of cataract surgery were significantly associated with hearing status. However, substituting either low contrast (10%) acuity or acuity in the presence of disability glare yielded similar results.

Conclusions: : In the current study, we find no association between high contrast acuity and hearing loss (when age is taken into account). However, low contrast measures of acuity (SKILL Dark Acuity, low contrast (10%) acuity, or low contrast acuity in glare) were associated with moderate hearing impairment. Further, our results agree with others that have shown that hearing impairment is associated with (some types of) cataract.

Keywords: aging • contrast sensitivity • visual acuity 

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