Association between diet quality with concurrent vision and hearing impairment in older adults



Publication Details

Gopinath, B., Schneider, J., Flood, V. M., McMahon, C. M., Burlutsky, G., Leeder, S. R. & Mitchell, P. (2014). Association between diet quality with concurrent vision and hearing impairment in older adults. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 18 (3), 251-256.



Published literature shows that individual nutrients could influence the risk of developing vision and hearing loss. There is, however, a lack of population-based data on the relationship between overall patterns of food intake and the presence of concurrent vision and hearing impairment. We aimed to assess the associations between diet quality with the prevalence and 5-year incidence of dual sensory impairment (DSI).


Cross-sectional and 5-year longitudinal analyses.


Blue Mountains, Sydney, Australia.


2443 participants aged ≥50 from baseline were examined and followed over 5 years.


Dietary data were collected using a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. A modified version of the Healthy Eating Index for Australians was developed to determine total diet score (TDS). Visual impairment was defined as visual acuity less than 20/40 (better eye), and hearing impairment as average pure-tone air conduction threshold greater than 25 dB HL (500–4000 Hz, better ear).


After adjusting for age, sex, education, noise exposure, current smoking, and type 2 diabetes, participants in the lowest compared to the highest quintile of TDS had a 2-fold increased likelihood of having prevalent DSI, odds ratio, OR, 2.62 (95% confidence intervals, CI, 1.08–6.36), P-trend=0.04. Significant associations were not observed between TDS and the prevalence of having a single sensory impairment (vision or hearing loss). Baseline TDS was not significantly associated with the 5-year incidence of DSI. Adherence to dietary guidelines was associated with a reduced likelihood of having DSI in cross-sectional, but not in longitudinal analyses.


Further studies with adequate power are warranted to assess the prospective relationship between diet quality and DSI.

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