Hearing loss is an important health concern which is often unrecognized and undertreated. Hearing loss can have many emotional and social consequences including social isolation, depression, safety issues, mobility limitations and reduced income and employment opportunities. In older adults, hearing loss has also been shown to be associated with poor quality of life and functional limitations.

The aim of this study was to estimate the expected years lived with hearing impairment, vision impairment, and dual sensory impairment among older adults.

Hearing loss should be considered at the earliest stage of assessment for dementia.  It is essential for supporting patients and families, and it may prove important for treatment and risk reduction.

If there were no need to communicate every day, older adults with hearing loss would have no problem. Helen Keller is credited with noting that blindness cuts us off from things, but deafness cuts us off from people. The significant impact of hearing loss on communication and interaction with others sometimes goes unrecognized by healthcare practitioners.

The aging of the Cana­dian population presents medical and ethical challenges for clinicians. Increasingly, there is a need to ad­dress the issue of vulnerable older adults who live at risk in the community. Many have significant cognitive, psychiatric, and physical problems yet do not seek assistance. Assessment and intervention in these cases requires an interdisciplinary approach. An understanding of risk factors, the clinical evaluation process, competency issues, and basic management strategies is integral to good care.

This February's spotlight topic is sensory changes. In this issue, you will find resources related to hearing loss, vision loss, smell, taste, touch impairments and dual sensory impairments. We have recently added a number of new resources about sensory impairments to sagelink.ca.

This blog post is written by a guest blogger, Tracey Veldhuis, Manager of Community Services with the DeafBlind Ontario Services. She outlines some signs of the early stages of dual sensory impairments, the limited data available on this population, and suggestions for improving communication and access for these individuals.

Presentation slides by Dr. Walter Wittich at the University of Manitoba on dual sensory impairment in older adults. Topics include:

  • Demographics and epidemiology
  • Assistive devices
  • Stigma and the media


At the Academy, connecting you to a welcoming and dynamic community of peers is one of our principal goals and core member benefits. Some of the best ways for you to get connected. We are pleased to announce the launch of our first general audiology community, a new collaboration platform that includes a document posting area, listserv capabilities, discussion forums, and social media integration. Visit the community, login, and start collaborating with your colleagues! 

Hearing impairment is a common but under-reported problem among older adults. The Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly Screening Version (HHIE-S) is a 10-item questionnaire developed to assess how an individual perceives the social and emotional effects of hearing loss. The HHIE-S was designed to be used with non-institutionalized older adults in a variety of clinical and community settings. It is usually administered in a face-to-face interview. However, time constraints or a severe-to-profound hearing loss may preclude a face-to-face interview, in which case the HHIE-S may be administered by having the individual do a paper-and-pencil self-report.