Sensory Aging Series

The Sensory Aging Series is intended to promote discoverability of publically available datasets on aging that contain measures of sensory function. These data can be used to study the role of sensory function on health, disability, and economic well-being in older adults. The Sensory Aging Series is maintained by the SENSE Network (, an international network supporting research examining the role of sensory functioning - vision, hearing, olfaction, touch, taste, and vestibular function - on health and aging. The SENSE Network’s metadata projects, including the Sensory Aging Series, are supported by the Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging (MiCDA) through a grant from the National Institute on Aging (P30AG012846). 

The studies associated with this series have been identified as having variables which represent measures of sensory health. Data users should refer to each study’s documentation and methodology to determine the most appropriate way to utilize the data. 

This SENSE Series page is a work in progress with additional studies under continuous review and will be updated periodically.


A: Subjective and objective measures

B: Subjective measures only

C: Objective measures only

*: Inclusive of MIDUS sub-studies

**: First year with sensory topics

Topics Explored in Sensory Aging Series Data Collections
  Sensory Topics Explored in These Data Collections
Study Start Year Country Sampling Frame Age Group Hearing Vision Taste Touch Smell Vestibular Sensory Health Services
Americans' Changing Lives (ACL) 1986 United States U.S. Population 25+ X-B X-B         X
Health and Retirement Study (HRS) 1992 U.S. Population 50+ X-A X-B         X
Midlife in the United States* (MIDUS) 1995 U.S. Population 25-74 X-A X-A         X
National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (NSHAP) 2005 U.S. Population 57+ X-B X-A X-A X-A X-A   X
National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS) 2011 Medicare beneficiaries ages 65+ 65+ X-B X-B       X-C X
Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging  (SALSA) 1996 Latinos in Sacramento, CA 60+ X-B X-B       X-C X
Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) 1996** U.S. Population 15+ X-B X-B         X