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The Experiences of Deafblind Individuals

Sense estimates the number of deafblind people in the UK in 2010 was around 250,000; 222,000 aged over 70 years and 33,000 aged 20-69. It is likely that this population already use, or will need to use, audiology services and hearing technologies. Sense receives frequent enquiries from deafblind people and their families about hearing technology and audiological service provision; therefore commissioned this study to qualify the needs, experiences and expectations of deafblind people in order to shape solutions that provide the right support.

Sense has worked collaboratively with the Ear Foundation to collect the views of 37 deafblind adults using questionnaires and interviews. Participants varied in communication preferences, age, gender, geographical location, type/severity of deafblindness and use of hearing technology.

Following analysis of the responses, four specific themes emerged; living with deafblindness, confidence and competency, deafblind awareness and the journey through hearing services.  Key findings included:

  • Deafblind people are reliant on their hearing technology; 97% of participants use their hearing aids all the time when in a one to one situation, 94% also use their hearing aids all the time when in background noise and in group situations.
  • 56% of respondents reported waiting more than a week to have their device repaired.
  • Cleaning devices can be particularly challenging; 28% were not able to manage and 16% could manage with support.
  • 55% of respondents use additional hearing technology

The recommendations relate to:

  • Technology Self-efficacy
  • Access to information
  • Service Provision

Click here to download the full report….Audiology report web version.pdf

For more information please contact:

Donna Corrigan at Technology@sense.org.uk or 07557650513

or

Suzanne Harrigan at suzanne@earfoundation.org.uk