|Title||Sensory Loss and its Association with Different Types of Departures from the Labor Force Among Older Adults in the US|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2023|
|Authors||Morales, EEGarcia, Powel, DS, Gray, A, Assi, L, Reed, NS|
|Journal||Work, Aging and Retirement|
To investigate the association between sensory loss and the timing and type of self-reported departures from the labor force, via retirement or disability, we used data from the Health and Retirement Study, cycles 2004–2018. Based on self-reported sensory loss, we classified individuals into four groups: no sensory loss, hearing loss only, vision loss only, and dual sensory loss (vision and hearing loss). We assumed that older adults could leave the labor force either by retirement or due to disability. Because once one type of exit is observed the other type cannot be observed, we implemented a competing risk approach to estimate the instantaneous rate of departure (sub-distribution hazard rate) for leaving the labor force due to disability, treating retirement as a competing risk, and for departures via retirement, with disability as the competing risk. We found that compared to older adults with no sensory loss, adults with vision loss are at a higher risk for leaving the labor force via disability (when treating retirement as a competing risk). Compared to no sensory loss, hearing loss was associated with a higher risk for retirement in models treating disability as a competing risk. Given the differences between disability and retirement benefits (before and after retirement age), policies intended to keep people with sensory loss from early labor force departures, such as accommodations in the workplace and/or hearing and vision care coverage, might contribute to better retiring conditions and healthy aging among older adults with sensory loss.