The purpose of the study was to describe the prevalence of hearing difficulties, vision difficulties and dual sensory difficulties in 11 European countries, and to study whether sensory difficulties are associated with social inactivity in older Europeans. This cross-sectional study is based on the 2004 data collection of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe comprising 27,536 men and women aged 50 years and older. Hearing and vision difficulties, as well as participation in seven different social activities were assessed using a structured computerassisted personal interview. Logistic regression models were used for analyses. Altogether, 5.9 % of the participants reported both hearing and vision difficulties (dual sensory loss), 10.2 % vision difficulties only, and 13.5 % hearing difficulties only. More than two-thirds (68.6 %) of the participants with dual sensory loss were socially inactive compared to half of those who reported no sensory difficulties. The participants who reported dual sensory loss had 2.18 (95 % CI 1.83–2.59) times higher odds for social inactivity compared to persons without hearing or vision difficulties. In a model adjusted for age, gender, mobility, depressive symptoms, cognition, education and wealth the corresponding odds ratio was 1.21 (95 % CI 1.00–1.47).
European Journal of Ageing, 2013, Vol 11, Issue 2, p. 155-167
Ageing; Activity; Dual sensory loss; Hearing; Social participation; Vision