|Title||The Association of Vision, Hearing, and Dual-Sensory Loss with Walking Speed and Incident Slow Walking: Longitudinal and Time to Event Analyses in the Health and Retirement Study|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Shakarchi, AF, Assi, L, Gami, A, Kohn, C, Ehrlich, JR, Swenor, BK, Reed, NS|
|Journal||Seminars in Hearing|
|Keywords||dual-sensory loss, Hearing loss, vision loss, walking speed|
With the aging of the population, vision (VL), hearing (HL), and dual-sensory (DSL, concurrent VL and HL) loss will likely constitute important public health challenges. Walking speed is an indicator of functional status and is associated with mortality. Using the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative U.S. cohort, we analyzed the longitudinal relationship between sensory loss and walking speed. In multivariable mixed effects linear models, baseline walking speed was slower by 0.05 m/s (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.04–0.07) for VL, 0.02 (95% CI = 0.003–0.03) for HL, and 0.07 (95% CI = 0.05–0.08) for DSL compared with those without sensory loss. Similar annual declines in walking speeds occurred in all groups. In time-to-event analyses, the risk of incident slow walking speed (walking speed < 0.6 m/s) was 43% (95% CI = 25–65%), 29% (95% CI = 13–48%), and 35% (95% CI = 13–61%) higher among those with VL, HL, and DSL respectively, relative to those without sensory loss. The risk of incident very slow walking speed (walking speed < 0.4 m/s) was significantly higher among those with HL and DSL relative to those without sensory loss, and significantly higher among those with DSL relative to those with VL or HL alone. Addressing sensory loss and teaching compensatory strategies may help mitigate the effect of sensory loss on walking speed.