Deafblindness is an independent disability resulting from a serious simultaneous hearing and vision impairment in which the affected senses cannot replace each other. Deafblindness limits activities and full participation in society to a varying extent. This affects social life, communication, access to information, orientation, and the ability to move freely and safely.
Deafblindness is one hundred percent disability and not just a physical disability.
Different combinations of hearing and vision impairments are present in people with deafblindness:
– deafness and blindness,
– deafness and low vision,
– hard of hearing and blindness,
– hard of hearing and low vision.
In addition to hearing and vision impairments, an individual may have other impairments or medical conditions. That is why we are talking about the extreme diversity of a group of people with deafblindness.
Syndromes and diseases that cause deafblindness are among others: CHARGE syndrome, Usher syndrome, Cornelia de Lange, rubella, microcephaly, hydrocephalus, cytomegalovirus, meningitis, premature birth, etc.
Types of deafblindness:
– age-related deafblindness (after 65 years of age), which is the most common.
PERSON WITH DEAFBLINDNESS
The group of people with deafblindness includes people who have a hearing and vision impairment to such an extent that the impaired senses cannot replace each other. In addition to deafblindness, an individual may have other disabilities and/or medical conditions.
People with deafblindness can rely only on their senses of touch, smell, and taste. Touch thus becomes particularly important in the replacement of simultaneous visual and hearing impairment. Through touch, many ways of communicating with a person with deafblindness are implemented. Touch is the one that allows the most reliable transmission of all information.
A person with deafblindness needs an individual, tailored professional approach in order to be able to communicate, be understood, and develop personally. To understand and be understood is one of the fundamental needs that human has as a social being. Due to the simultaneous visual and hearing impairment, a person with deafblindness also needs accompaniment and personal assistance in engaging in social activities.
THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WITH DEAFBLINDNESS
A study entitled Mapping Opportunities for Deafblind People across Europe, conducted in 2014 in 27 European countries by the European Deafblind Network (EDBN), based on a survey conducted by the Center for Disability Research (CeDR) in the UK in 2010 shows that the incidence of deafblindness increases significantly with age. They found that there were a total of almost three million people with deafblindness in the 27 participating European countries.
The study demonstrates a sharp increase in the presence of deafblindness between individuals of high age, representing 13 percent among individuals over the age of 90.
The following estimate of the presence of deafblindness in the total population of 2,010,347 applies to Slovenia (data from 2013): 3,389 up to the age of 65, 6,312 from the age of 66 onwards and a total of 9,702 people with deafblindness.
More information on the Mapping Opportunities for Deafblind People across Europe survey is available at the link below: