Developmental Impact of Vision and Hearing Loss in Old Age: Importance of Social-spatial and Psychological Resources

Project Description

The basis of this project is that the analysis of vision and hearing impairment in old age tells us much about adaptational dynamics in later in life. In particular, vision and hearing impairment contribute to the better understanding of the interplay of person and environmental resources as people age and potential changes in this interplay. It is important to note in this context that vision impairment primarily targets the interaction with the physical-spatial environment, whereas hearing impairment targets the interface with the social environment, thus providing an interesting contrast.

Research questions as follows are central:

  • What are the psychosocial outcomes connected with vision and hearing impairment in old age?
  • Does the experience of vision and hearing impairment impact on the interplay of psychic resources? If so, in which way?
  • What can we learn about the potential and limits of psychic resilience at large in aging, when we gain a better understanding of the adaptational mechanics related to vision and hearing impairment?

Current research in this area is primarily conducted in cooperation the University of Education, Heidelberg (Prof. Dr. Vera Heyl)

Here is a selection of our publications in this area (please contact us for copies):

  • Cimarolli, V. R., Boerner, K. Reinhardt, J. P., Horowitz, A., Wahl, H.-W., & Schilling, O. (2016). A population study of correlates of social participation in older adults with age-related macular degeneration. Clinical Rehabilitation. Online-published.
  • Schilling, O. K., Wahl, H.-W., Boerner, K., Horowitz, A., Reinhardt, J. P., Cimarolli, V. R., Brennan-Ing, M., & Heckhausen, J. (2016). Developmental regulation with progressive visual loss: Use of control strategies and affective well-being. Developmental Psychology. Online-published.
  • Wettstein, M., Kuzma, E., Wahl, H.-W., Heyl, V. (2015). Cross-sectional and longitudinal relationship between neuroticism and cognitive ability in advanced old age: The moderating role of severe sensory impairment. Aging & Mental Health. Online published. doi:10.1080/13607863.2015.1049119.
  • Wahl, H.-W., Drapaniotis, P. M., & Heyl, V. (2014). Functional ability loss in sensory impaired and sensory unimpaired very old adults: analyzing causal relations with positive affect across four years. Experimental Gerontology, 59, 74-80. doi:
  • Heyl, V., & Wahl, H.-W. (2014). Experiencing age-related vision and hearing impairment: The psychosocial dimension. Journal of Clinical Outcome Management, 21(7), 323-335.
  • Wahl, H.-W., Heyl, V., Drapaniotis, P. M., Hörmann, K., Jonas, J. B., Plinkert, P. K., & Rohrschneider, K.. (2013). Severe vision and hearing impairment and successful aging: A multidimensional view. The Gerontologist, 53(6), 950-962.  doi:10.1093/geront/gnt013.Wahl, H.-W. (2013). The psychological challenge of late-life vision impairment: Concepts, findings, and practical implications. Journal of Ophthalmology, 1, 1-11. doi:
  • Schilling, O. K., Wahl, H.-W., Boerner, K., Reinhardt, J. P., Brennan-Ing, M., & Horowitz, A. (2013). Change in psychological control in visually impaired older adults over 2 years: Role of functional ability and depressed mood. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 68(5), 750-761.  doi:10.1093/geronb/gbs118.
  • Heyl, V. & Wahl, H.-W. (2012). Managing daily life with age-related sensory loss: Cognitive resources gain in importance. Psychology and Aging, 27, 510-521. doi: 10.1037/a0025471
  • Wahl, H.-W., Heyl, V. & Schilling, O. (2013). Robustness of personality and affect relations: The case of age-related sensory impairment. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 67(6), 687-696. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbs002.
  • Schilling, O.K., Wahl, H.-W., Horowitz, A., Reinhardt, J. P. & Boerner, K. (2011). The adaptation dynamics of chronic functional impairment: What we can learn from older adults with vision loss. Psychology and Aging 26, 203-213. doi: 10.1037/a0021127.
  • Heyl, V. & Wahl, H.-W. (2010). Cognitive ability as resources for everyday functioning among older adults how are visually impaired. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 104(7), 391-403.
  • Wahl, H.-W., Heyl, V., & Langer, N. (2008). Lebensqualität bei Seheinschränkung im Alter: Das Beispiel altersabhängige Makuladegeneration. Der Ophthalmologe, 1-8 (DOI 10.1007/s00347-008-1724-0)
  • Wahl, H.-W., Kämmerer, A., Holz, F., Miller, D., Becker, S., Kaspar, R. & Himmelsbach, I. (2006). Psychosocial intervention for age-related macular degeneration: A pilot project. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 100(9), 533-544.
  • Schilling, O. & Wahl, H.-W. (2006). Modeling late life adaptation in affective well-being under a severe chronic health condition: The case of age-related macular degeneration. Psychology and Aging, 21, 703-714.
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Latest Revision: 2017-11-27
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