- Older adults with both hearing and vision impairment have roughly double the risks for all-cause dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Why this matters
- These impairments may be modifiable risk factors.
- US multicenter, randomized controlled trial among 2051 cognitively healthy adults age ≥75 years (Gingko Evaluation of Memory Study).
- Main outcomes: all-cause dementia; probable or possible Alzheimer's disease.
- Funding: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Office of Dietary Supplements and National Institute on Aging; others.
- Baseline prevalences according to self-report:
- Hearing impairment only: 7.8%.
- Vision impairment only: 14.9%.
- Dual hearing and vision impairment: 5.1%.
- During 8-year follow-up, vs peers with neither sensory impairment, older adults with dual hearing and vision impairment had elevated multivariate risks for:
- All‐cause dementia: HR, 1.86 (95% CI, 1.25-2.76).
- Alzheimer's disease: HR, 2.12 (95% CI, 1.34-3.36).
- All-cause dementia risk was significantly higher with vs without isolated vision impairment (HR, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.02-1.71).
- The more severe the dual sensory impairment, the greater the risk for all-cause dementia (P for trend=.02).
- No significant associations were seen for vascular dementia.
- Uncertain accuracy of self-report.
- Hearing, vision assessed only once.
- Exclusion of those with severe hearing loss.
- Cohort largely healthy and white.