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Women with sensory loss twice as likely to suffer depression

Published: 26 March 2021 at 11:30

Older woman's eyes

New research finds depression and anxiety particularly high in those with dual sensory loss

Women who suffer from vision, hearing or dual sensory loss are more than twice as likely to report depression and anxiety as men who experience the same issues, according to a new study by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU). 

The research, which has been published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, looked at survey data from more than 23,000 adults, where participants had self-reported whether they had suffered depression or anxiety, and also whether they experienced vision, hearing, or dual (both vision and hearing) sensory impairment.

Across the whole sample, the prevalence of depression and anxiety was between 2 and 2.56 higher in women compared to men. 

Women with dual sensory impairment were almost three and a half times more likely to report depression or anxiety than those who did not have any impairments, while men with dual sensory impairment were more than two and a half times more likely to experience depression, and almost twice as likely to report anxiety than those with no impairment.

Lead author Professor Shahina Pardhan, Director of the Vision and Eye Research Institute at ARU, said:

“Our study found that while sensory loss, particularly both vision and hearing loss, results in a higher number of the population reporting depression and anxiety, the association is particularly strong in women.

“This highlights the importance of interventions to address vision and hearing loss, especially in women. Some sensory loss is preventable or treatable, and clearly these issues are taking their toll not just on physical health, but mental health too.”


The study used data from the Spanish National Health Survey.