Encyclopedia of Geropsychology

2017 Edition
| Editors: Nancy A. Pachana

Dual Sensory Loss

  • Chyrisse HeineEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-082-7_265


Combined sensory loss; Deafblind; Dual sensory impaired; Dual sensory impairment; Vision and hearing loss


Dual sensory loss (DSL) is the acquired loss, in various degrees of severity of both vision and hearing acuity, associated with aging and prevalent in older adults.

Dual sensory loss (DSL) is the acquired, combined loss of vision and hearing prevalent in older adults. As adults get older, they often also experience changes in their sensory acuity as well. In particular, significant eye and ear changes occur. Commonly, the sclera of the eye changes in color, the number of mucous cells in the conjunctiva may decrease, the retro-orbital fat atrophies causing the eye socket to recede, eyelid tissue becomes lax and the levator muscle weakens causing the eyelid to droop, deposits of calcium and cholesterol salts often appear, retinal changes take place, and the pupil weakens and changes size (Nigam and Knight 2008). Visual conditions such as cataract, diabetic...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Brennan, M., & Bally, S. J. (2007). Psychosocial adaptations to dual sensory loss in middle and late adulthood. Trends in Amplification, 11, 281–300. doi:10.1177/1084713807308210. PMid:18003870, PMCid:PMC4111534.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Caban, A. J., Lee, D. J., Gomez-Marin, O., Lam, B. L., & Zheng, D. (2005). Prevalence of concurrent hearing and visual impairment in US adults: The National Health Interview Survey, 1997–2002. American Journal of Public Health, 95(11), 1940–1942. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2004.056671. PMid:16195516, PMCid:PMC1449463.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cacchione, P. Z., Culp, K., Dyck, M. J., & Laing, J. (2003). Risk for acute confusion in sensory-impaired, rural, long-term-care elders. Clinical Nursing Research, 12(4), 340–355. doi:10.1177/1054773803253917. PMid:14620691.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Crews, J. E., & Campbell, V. A. (2004). Vision impairment and hearing loss among community-dwelling older Americans: Implications for health and functioning. American Journal of Public Health, 94(5), 823–829. doi:10.2105/AJPH.94.5.823. PMid:15117707, PMCid:PMC1448344.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Heine, C., & Browning, C. J. (2002). Communication and psychosocial consequences of sensory loss in older adults: Overview and rehabilitation directions. Disability & Rehabilitation, 24(15), 763–773. doi:10.1080/09638280210129162. PMid:12437862.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Heine, C., & Browning, C. (2015). Dual sensory loss in older adults: A systematic review. The Gerontologist, 55, 913.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Heine, C., Erber, N. P., Osborn, R., & Browning, C. J. (2002). Communication perceptions of older adults with sensory loss and their communication partners: Implications for intervention. Disability and Rehabilitation, 24(7), 356–363. doi:10.1080/09638280110096250. PMid:12022785.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Helzner, E. P., Patel, A. I., Pratt, S., Sutton-Tyrrell, K., Cauley, J. A., Talbott, E., Kenyon, E., et al. (2011). Hearing sensitivity in older adults: Associations with cardiovascular risk factors in the health, aging and body composition study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59(6), 972–979. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2011.03444.x. PMid:21649629, PMCid:PMC3268119.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kiely, K. M., Anstey, K. J., & Luszcz, M. A. (2013). Dual sensory loss and depressive symptoms: The importance of hearing, daily functioning, and activity engagement. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 837. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00837. PMid:24379769, PMCid:PMC3864127.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Nigam, Y., & Knight, J. (2008). Exploring the anatomy and physiology of ageing, part 6 – The eye and ear. Nursing Times, 104(36), 22–23.Google Scholar
  11. Schneider, J., Gopinath, B., McMahon, C., Teber, E., Leeder, S., Wang, J. J., et al. (2012). Prevalence and 5-year incidence of dual sensory impairment in an older Australian population. Annals of Epidemiology, 22, 295–301. doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2012.02.004. PMid:22382082.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Simon, H. J., & Levitt, H. (2007). Effect of dual sensory loss on auditory localization: Implications for intervention. Trends in Amplification, 11, 259–272. doi:10.1177/1084713807308209. PMid:18003869, PMCid:PMC4111533.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Smith, S. L., Bennett, L. W., & Wilson, R. H. (2008). Prevalence and characteristics of dual sensory impairment (hearing and vision) in a veteran population. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 45(4), 597–609. doi:10.1682/JRRD.2007.02.0023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Tye-Murray, N. (2009). Foundations of aural rehabilitation. Children, adults and their family members (3rd ed., pp. 479–528). Clifton Park: Delmar Cengage Learning.Google Scholar
  15. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Population Division. (2004). World population to 2300. New York. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange2/WorldPop2300final.pdf
  16. Wallhagen, M. I., Strawbridge, W. J., Shema, S. J., Kurata, J., & Kaplan, G. A. (2001). Comparative impact of hearing and vision impairment on subsequent functioning. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 49(8), 1086–1092. doi:10.1046/j.1532-5415.2001.49213.x. PMid:11555071.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. West, S. K., Munoz, B., Rubin, G. Z., Schein, O. D., Bandeen-Roche, K., Zeger, S., German, P. S., et al. (1997). Function and visual impairment in a population-based study of older adults. The SEE project. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 38(1), 72–82. PMid:9008632.Google Scholar
  18. World Health Organization. (2012a). Global data on visual impairment 2010. http://www.who.int/blindness/GLOBALDATAFINALforweb.pdf
  19. World Health Organization. (2012b). WHO global estimates on prevalence of hearing loss. Mortality and burden of diseases and prevention of blindness and deafness. http://www.who.int/pbd/deafness/WHO_GE_HL.pdf
  20. World Health Organization. ICD-10 Version: 2015. http://apps.who.int/classifications/icd10/browse/2015/en#/H53-H54

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Science Health and Engineering, Department of Community and Clinical Allied Health, School of Allied HealthLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia