How many people who are deafblind or have sensory impairments are there?

Sense estimates there are around 250,000 people who are deafblind or have sensory impairments in the UK. This estimate is based on a number of research projects undertaken over the last 20 years.

In 2010, the Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) produced a report commissioned by Sense that estimated the total number of people with sight and hearing loss in the UK, currently and in the future.

As we age, our hearing and sight deteriorate. The CeDR report stated that the deafblind population is set to rise dramatically as there will be a higher percentage of older people in the UK.

Findings

The report found:

  • approximately 250,000 people who are deafblind or have sensory impairments in the UK
  • 222,000 of those people are aged over 70
  • 33,000 adults (age 20-69)
  • 4,000 children (0-19yrs)

Within the report, 21,000 children were identified who had experienced some level of sight and hearing difficulties. Within this group, however, there were 4,000 children identified as having significant hearing and visual impairments. This is considered to be the group therefore who require specialist support and approaches to teaching, learning and developing independence.

National and regional data

As part of the work that the CeDR undertook, a tool was developed to estimate the current and future numbers of people who are deafblind or have sensory impairments across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. View the national and regional data.

Further information

The full report: Estimating the Number of People with Co‐Occurring Vision and Hearing Impairments in the UK

The summary report, with recommendations from Sense: A Sense of Urgency

First published: Wednesday 23 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 9 December 2014