Visual and hearing impairment among rural elderly of south India: a community-based study.Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2012 Jan; 12(1):116-22.GG
Of India's population, 76.6 million (7.2%) are aged above 60 years. Increasing age is associated with increasing disability and functional impairments such as low vision, loss of mobility and hearing impairment. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to study the prevalence of hearing and visual impairment among a rural elderly population in South India and its association with selected variables.
This was a cross-sectional study of elderly persons in two villages of Bangalore District, Karnataka, South India. Elderly persons identified were administered a questionnaire for assessment of demographic details, health and function related information. Visual acuity was checked using Snellen's E chart for distant vision. Hearing was assessed using pure tone audiometry.
Two hundred and fifty-seven (12.2%) of the population were elderly in these two villages. Seventy-two (32.4%) of the elderly persons were facing problems completely or partially in at least one of the activities and 10 (4.5%) elderly persons had cognitive impairment. Sixty-two (35.4%) of the elderly had low vision and 22 (12.6%) were blind. On assessment with pure tone audiometry, 117 (66.9%) of the elderly persons had some degree of hearing impairment. Forty-three (24.6%) of the elderly had disabling hearing impairment. Forty-seven (26.9%) of the elderly had combined low vision associated with hearing impairment and 18 (10.2%) had combined blindness along with hearing impairment. As age advanced there was a significant increase in visual, hearing and combined impairments.
Visual and hearing impairment are important health problems among elderly persons in rural areas of South India.