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Rates of undiagnosed hearing and vision loss are striking. Let IFA's newest expert explain the impact this is having on older adults.

September 18, 2020  · 2 min read

Unaddressed hearing and vision loss among older adults is a major health concern yet does not receive the attention it deserves. Striking findings from new research based on older adults in England found that one third of people aged 50 and older with hearing loss are not diagnosed. Principle investigator, Dr. Dalia Tsimpida says, "It is crucial that those with hearing loss are detected in a timely way, referred to ear specialists and given access to hearing aids. The early identification of hearing difficulties in primary care may be the key to tackling this major public health issue."


Low rates of diagnosis are also found among older adults with vision loss, with two in ten older people in the United Kingdom experiencing vision loss, yet a third of this same group had not received an eye test in the last 12 months (Lliffe et al., 2013). These findings are critical considering the impact of sensory decline on various modes of functional ability among older adults – including cognition. IFA’s newest expert Dr. Heather Whitson explains: "If you’re ageing without good vision, not only are you giving your brain less stimulation, you might be altering your brain at a structural level."



Dr. Heather E. Whitson, MD, MHS, is an internist, geriatrician and clinical investigator. Dr. Whitson is the Director of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development (Duke Aging Center), where her research seeks to improve health and resilience for older adults with multiple chronic conditions. She has particular interest and expertise related to the interface between age-related changes in sensory and cognitive health.

Dr. Whitson is available to speak with media, and recently spoke with Reuters and was featured in a variety of articles regarding this critical topic, including:

  • Look after your eyes to protect your brain, new study claims
  • Maintaining healthy vision may help keep brain in shape, too
  • Clinical Research Day highlights the role of new technologies in building partnerships


Simply click on her expert icon to arrange an interview today.


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