In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, University of Chicago researchers analyzed data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), a population-based study of adults ages 57 to 85. The study collected information about the participants' senses of vision, touch, smell, hearing, and taste. The participants were also asked to rate their physical health.
The researchers reported several key findings:
Older age was linked to poorer function in all five senses; the largest differences were in hearing, vision, and smell. What's more, men had worse functioning for hearing, smell, and taste than did women – although men had better corrected vision than women. African Americans and Hispanics tended to have worse sensory function than Caucasians in all senses except hearing. Hispanics tended to have better function in taste than those from other groups.
The researchers said that losing more than one sense might explain why older adults report having a poorer quality of life and face challenges in interacting with other people and the world around them. The researchers suggested that further studies into multisensory loss hold promise for designing better programs to prevent or treat loss and to ease the suffering such losses cause.REHACARE.com; Source: American Geriatrics Society