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Health-related quality of life associated with sensory impairment in Chinese middle-aged and older adults: a cohort study


Background The impact of sensory impairment (SI) on individual multidimensional health has not been adequately explored in developing countries. This study examined the association of hearing or/and visual impairment with health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the Chinese middle-aged and older population, and further explored potential discrepancies in associations by gender and rural–urban residence.

Methods This cohort study used four-wave data during 2011–2018 from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, and enrolled 13 342 community-dwelling adults aged 45 years or older. We employed linear mixed effects models to estimate the longitudinal associations between SI and HRQoL, and conducted interaction tests to assess gender or rural–urban differences in above associations.

Results Hearing impairment (HI) and visual impairment (VI) were separately and jointly associated with deteriorated overall HRQoL and decreased physical/mental component of HRQoL (all β<0, all p<0.05), and in particular, dual sensory impairment (DSI) exhibited greater impacts on HRQoL than either HI or VI alone. The impacts of SI on HRQoL were more evident among women or rural population than their counterparts (all p for interaction<0.05).

Conclusion This study observed decreased HRQoL in association with SI. The greater impact of DSI underlines the need for integrated care for comorbid sensory conditions. Our findings also indicate the necessity to reduce the burden of SI among more vulnerable populations such as females and rural adults.


Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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