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Statistics

Incidences of Deafness

  • There are an estimated 1,012,000 people in Scotland with some degree of hearing loss (of whom approximately 546,000 are over the age of 60)
  • In Scotland there are an estimated 701,000 people with mild to moderate deafness
  • In Scotland there are an estimated 57,000 people with severe to profound deafness
  • There are almost 9 million people with some degree of hearing loss in the UK. Of these approximately 6,471,000 are over the age of 60
  • There are an estimated 2 million people in the UK with hearing aids
  • The number of people in the UK whose first or preferred language is BSL is estimated to be between 50,000 (AoHL) and 70,000 (BDA)
  • The number of people in Scotland whose first or preferred language is BSL was estimated by the Scottish Government to be around 6,000
  • There are an estimated 23,000 Deafblind people in the UK
  • There are an estimated 2,000 Deafblind people in Scotland
  • “We estimate there are around 5,000 people in Scotland with a dual sensory impairment. Relatively few people are totally deaf and totally blind – many have a little hearing and/or sight left.” Deafblind Scotland website
  • There are an estimated 123,000 deafened people in the UK aged 16 and over
  • There are an estimated 10,400 deafened people in Scotland aged 16 and over
  • The ratio of fully qualified interpreters to sign language users in the UK is estimated at 1 interpreter to 275 Sign Language users
  • In Scotland the ratio of qualified interpreters to Sign Language users is estimated at around 1 interpreter for every 200 Sign Language users

Children and Young People

  • Every year in the UK 840 babies are born deaf, meaning around 1 in 1,000 or 60 children are born with a severe to profound hearing loss
  • Every year in Scotland around 75 children are born deaf, around 5 of them with a severe to profound hearing loss
  • There are an estimated 34,800 children and young people under 25 with severe to profound deafness in the UK
  • There are an estimated 3,000 children and young people under 25 with severe to profound deafness in Scotland

At Work

  • 70% of deaf people believe they have failed to get a job because of their deafness
  • 64% have experienced communication difficulties at work and over 50% are unable to communicate with their hearing colleagues
  • 60% were looking for another job because of their treatment at work
  • 19% of deaf people are unemployed compared to 5% of non-disabled people
  • 52% of deaf people felt they had been prevented from pursuing further training or education because of their deafness or lack of communication services
  • 74% of deaf people said they were prevented from progressing at work because of their deafness
  • In 1999 8% of deaf full-time employees surveyed by the then RNID earned less than the minimum wage compared to 1.1% of full-time workers in the general population
  • Research shows that the biggest barrier at work for deaf people is lack of understanding by employers of their communication needs

In GP Surgeries

  • 35% of deaf and hard of hearing people had experienced difficulty communicating with their GP or nurse and 32% found it difficult to explain their health problems to their GP
  • 15% of deaf and heard of hearing people said they avoid going to see their GP because of communication problems; this proportion doubles among British Sign Language (BSL) users
  • 28% of deaf and hard of hearing people found it difficult to contact their GP surgery to get an appointment because of their hearing loss
  • 35% of deaf and hard of hearing people had been left unclear about their condition because of communication problems with their GP or nurse
  • 33% of BSL users were either unsure about instructions for medication or had taken too much or too little of a medication because of a communication problem
  • 24% of patients had missed an appointment because of poor communication – such as not being able to hear staff calling out their name – 19% of whom missed more than five appointments

In Hospitals

  • 42% of deaf and hard of hearing people who had visited hospital (non-emergency) had found it difficult to communicate with NHS staff. This increased to 66% amongst BSL users
  • 77% of BSL users who had visited hospital could not easily communicate with NHS staff. The proportion who had experienced difficulty was the same for both emergency visits and non-emergency overnight stays
  • 70% of BSL users admitted to A&E units were not provided with a BSL/English interpreter to enable them to communicate

Mental Health

  • It is estimated that 40% of deaf and hard of hearing people experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives (that is over 3 million people)
  • Effective engagement and communication are essential for meetings with mental health workers
  • Communication is the key to assessing mental health. The use of interpreters at GP and hospital appointments is less than 20%
  • The average length of stay for a hearing mental health patient in psychiatric hospitals is 148 days; Deaf mental health patients spend an average of 19.5 years in residential care

Disabled People in Employment

  • 2006 – 2.7 million (47.4%)
  • 1998 – 1.8 million
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