Vision and Hearing Health Inequities in the Roma population: A National Cross-Sectional Study in Spain


We analyzed vision and hearing health status in the Spanish Roma population compared with the general population and its influence on mental health and social participation. We conducted a Cross-sectional study on Roma population (n = 1.167) compared to general population in Spain (n = 21.007). We analyzed the use of optical and hearing aids, vision and hearing limitations and associations with mental health, diagnosed depression and social participation; through prevalence, odds ratio adjusted by age (AOR), Chi square independence test and contrast of proportions (p < 0.05). The Roma population are more likely to present vision limitations—far sight AOR = 3.76 (3.13–4.55), near sight AOR = 3.18 (2.33–4.35)-, hearing difficulties—AOR = 1.41 (1.15–1.72)-, and lower use of corrective aids than the general population. These findings were associated with poor mental health and lower social participation (p < 0.01). Vision and hearing limitations affect unequally in Spain. Addressing avoidable vision and hearing impairment among Roma population is needed to reduce health inequities.

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The authors give thanks for the financial support of the following institutions: Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain, FEDER Funds, (“National Health Survey to Roma Population 2013–2014”, Project Ref. PI12/00842), and Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality of Spain, Carlos III Health Institute. We also wish to thank the interviewers and associations of the Roma community in Spain for participating in this study and José Fernandez Sáez for his technical support for the data analysis.

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Correspondence to Sergio Latorre-Arteaga.

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Latorre-Arteaga, S., Gil-González, D., Vives-Cases, C. et al. Vision and Hearing Health Inequities in the Roma population: A National Cross-Sectional Study in Spain. J Immigrant Minority Health 19, 1304–1314 (2017).

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  • Vision and hearing impairment
  • Roma population
  • Ethnicity
  • Health inequities