Number of people with hearing loss (FOI)
Number of people with hearing loss (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by States of Jersey and published on 29 June 2018.
Please may I have figures from either referrals to or data held by the audiologist or like medical agency, or data held by the education department or social security, the total number of people in Jersey who:
1) suffer some degree of hearing loss needing a hearing aid or other form of augmentation
2) are totally deaf
Please can I have that further broken down between children (under 18) and adults.
Please can I have numbers for
1) key support workers in schools
2) support workers from social services for children
3) support workers from social services for adults and how many support staff are trained in BSL (British Sign Language)
1) levels 1 or 2
2) level 3 or higher
The total number of people in Jersey who suffer some degree of hearing loss needing a hearing aid or other form of augmentation.
It is impossible to know the exact number from the States of Jersey held data because:
(1) those with hearing loss can typically wait 10 years before seeking help (NICE, Nov 2017, page 16);
(2) not everyone will seek help;
(3) some people will seek help but not from the States of Jersey; and
(4) some people will have a fluctuating condition.
Research, survey and census data can provide an estimate. In Jersey there are approximately 81,700 adults, assuming a population of 100,000 and that adults comprise 81.7% (2011 census data). Sixteen percent of survey participants have reported a hearing loss (Jersey Health and Life Opportunities Survey, 2015) thus approximately 13,000 adults have accepted that they have a hearing loss.
The average age of a new hearing aid client is 66 (Audiology database, 2018) and of death is 78 (Annual Report on the Deaths of Jersey Residents, 2015), and thus the expected annual incidence of new hearing aid clients is 13,000/(78-66) =1083 per year. In actuality there are around 450 new hearing aid clients a year (Audiology database, 2018) and thus approximately 450 * (78-66) = 5500 current adult clients with hearing aids provided via the States of Jersey. It is impossible to give an exact number because not all clients on the Audiology database are hearing aid users and it would require someone to look at each and every client’s record to give a definitive number. The numbers suggest that under a half of those who accept that they have hearing difficulty actually come forwards.
Since the newborn screening service started in 2002 there have been 12 babies born with a permanent childhood hearing impairment (PCHI). This agrees with UK estimates of incidence. Children can also develop a hearing loss. In total there are currently sixty-six clients under 18 years of age who wear hearing aids or Cochlear Implants due to a PCHI (Info: Audiologist in Education). There are other children and young adults in full time education being monitored regularly due to a temporary and fluctuating hearing condition.
The number of people who are totally deaf.
Hearing ability exists on a continuum. Most often hearing loss is crudely classified in terms of “degree” i.e. mild, moderate, severe or profound as measured on a Pure Tone Audiogram (PTA). This is simplistic for a number of reasons. Hearing loss can be conductive, sensori-neural or mixed in nature. Also, two people with the same test may manage differently with hearing aids due to the exact pattern of damage in the cochlear, nerve, peripheral or central pathways.
It is assumed that by ‘totally deaf’ that the requestor means those with a profound loss such that they can’t obtain enough benefit from traditional high-powered hearing aids or cochlear implants (C.I.) for communication purposes. Those who are less-likely to obtain benefit from a CI will have had little exposure to sound at the critical phase of speech and language development. Alternatively, they may have a type of acquired deafness which can not be helped by a C.I. (e.g. Neurofibromatosis type 2).
There are approximately 24 people who use British Sign Language (BSL) as their chief mode of communication (Info: Senior Practitioner with Deaf and Hard of Hearing). They are likely to have been born with a profound loss or had an acquired profound loss in the first few years of life. A further 10 to 20 are not BSL users but communicate via a combination of methods such as writing, speech to text, low-level BSL and hearing aids which provide limited benefit (e.g. environmental sounds only). Some of these people have dual disabilities, such as vision impairment. There are currently 296 people on the Audiology database who have a hearing aid or ear piece type suggestive of a large hearing loss. These people are likely to struggle on the telephone, will likely prefer text messages or email and are likely to require further specialist support or equipment now or in the future.
The Social Security Department (SSD) does not hold information relating to total numbers of people who suffer some degree of hearing loss needing a hearing aid, other form of augmentation, or who are totally deaf. People accessing benefits for a hearing impairment of any degree would not necessarily have this as a primary issue so it would not be possible to ascertain accurate figures from benefit information. This means any figures would be speculative at best.
Key support workers in schools.
There is an Audiologist in Education who works in schools four days a week and one day a week in Audiology itself. There are two specialist teachers of the deaf for the island. There are a further eight designated key workers for hearing impairment based within the provisions at St Clement’s and Le Rocquier.
Support workers from Social Services for children and adults.
There are no support workers for children or adults in social services dedicated specifically to hearing needs / Deafness.
There is one dedicated Deaf Senior Practitioner post that provides support to both adults and children. This post is wider than individual support casework – it encompasses many facets that include:
- social work
- support work
- communication and deaf awareness needs
- communicating directly in BSL (level 3 plus experience) i.e. not requiring an interpreter
- development and advocacy
Number of support workers from Social Services for adults trained in BSL level 1 or 2, level 3 or higher.
The States of Jersey does not routinely collate information on qualifications of staff that are not directly required for the role. Therefore, the number of staff with BSL qualifications is not held.
NICE, Nov 2017
Jersey Health and Life Opportunities Survey, 2015
Annual Report on the Deaths of Jersey Residents 2015