Dual sensory impairment: The association between glaucomatous vision loss and hearing impairment and function

Lucy I. Mudie, Varshini Varadaraj, Prateek Gajwani, Beatriz Munoz, Pradeep Ramulu, Frank R. Lin, Bonnielin K. Swenor, David S Friedman, Nazlee Zebardast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Hearing impairment, vision impairment, and dual impairment (both hearing and vision impairment), have been independently associated with functional and cognitive decline. In prior studies of dual impairment, vision impairment is generally not defined or defined by visual acuity alone. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and does not affect visual acuity until late in the disease; instead, visual field loss is used to measure vision impairment from glaucoma. Objective To examine the effect of glaucomatous visual field loss and hearing impairment on function. Design Cross-sectional. Setting Hospital-based clinic in Baltimore, Maryland. Subjects 220 adults, 55 years presenting to the glaucoma clinic. Methods Vision impairment was defined as mean deviation on visual field testing worse than -5 decibels in the better eye, and hearing impairment was defined as pure tone average worse than 25 decibels on threshold audiometry testing in the better ear. Standardized questionnaires were used to assess functional status. Results Five participants were excluded for incomplete testing, leaving 32 with vision impairment only, 63 with hearing impairment only, 42 with dual impairment, and 78 controls with no hearing impairment or vision impairment. Participants with dual impairment were more likely to be older and non-White. Dual impairment was associated with significantly more severe driving limitation and more difficulty with communication compared to those without sensory impairment when adjusted for age, race, gender and number of comorbidities. Conclusion Older individuals with glaucoma and hearing loss seem to have generally poorer functioning than those with single sensory loss. Health professionals should consider visual field loss as a type of vision impairment when managing patients with dual impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0199889
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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