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01-09-2015 | Brief Communication | Uitgave 9/2015

Quality of Life Research 9/2015

Impact of combined sensory impairments on health-related quality of life

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 9/2015
Laura Khil, Jürgen Wellmann, Klaus Berger



To analyse the impact of single/combined sensory impairment on health-related quality of life (HRQOL).


Data from 1102 participants (mean age = 51.4 years) of the Dortmund Health Study were analysed. HRQOL was assessed by the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36). Sensory impairment was measured with validated tests. Each impairment variable was coded into four categories (no impairment, mild, moderate, and severe impairment). Data were analysed with general linear models adjusted for possible confounders. The reference category was the group of no sensory impairment.


Sensory impairments did not influence the mental component score (MCS). Severe auditory impairment (−3.7, 95 % CI −6.3, −1.2) and olfactory impairment (−3.3, 95 % CI −5.6, −1.1) were related to a reduction in the physical component score (PCS). Auditory plus visual and gustatory plus visual impairments had a stronger effect on PCS than the respective impairments alone. For most of the other impairment combinations, additive effects were observed.


Sensory impairments reduced self-reported physical but not mental health scores. Combined sensory impairment worsened the impact of single sensory impairment on health.

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