Deafness and hearing loss

The WHO have updated their factsheet about deafness and hearing loss and key facts in it include:

  • 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss and 32 million of these are children
  • Hearing loss may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and ageing
  • 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes
  • 1billion young people (aged between 12–35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings
  • Approximately one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss

For more information and to download the factsheet on deafness and hearing loss from the who.int website

Global survey of assistive technology

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a global survey to gather views on the most necessary and useful assistive technologies such as hearing aids, wheel chairs and personal alarms.

The survey will feed into the first ever WHO mandated list of essential assistive technologies to provide a tool for governments. Governments can use the list to plan and focus efforts to help populations acquire the 50 priority products, thereby improving the everyday lives of the elderly and people with disabilities.

These practical tools – some low, some higher technologies – are becoming increasingly necessary to the many people in high- and middle-income countries who are living longer due to better healthcare. Similar devices are used by people with disabilities, allowing them to live more autonomously and participate in their communities.

However, such tools are not readily available everywhere. WHO estimates that only 1 out of 10 people who need these vital supports are accessing them today, due to lack of availability and awareness, and high costs. The aim is to increase access to assistive technologies for 1 billion people who need them today, and to reach 1.5 billion by 2030.

To read more about the survey and, if you wish, take part on the who.int website

The rights of people with disabilities

This paper “Implementing the UN CRPD – An overview of legal reforms in EU Member States” by the EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) outlines how Member States across the EU have reformed their laws and policies to meet their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. By bringing together examples of such reforms, it also highlights how the adoption of international commitments can drive wide-ranging processes of change at the national level.

To download this report, click here on http://fra.europa.eu

Hate crimes against people with disabilities

People with disabilities have been excluded from mainstream society for centuries, and still face discrimination, stigmatisation and isolation today. Research by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) shows that violence, harassment and abuse are common experiences for many people with disabilities, creating a formidable barrier to their inclusion and participation in the community.

Some key facts from the FRA include:

  • Disability is not included in the EU’s hate crime legislation
  • Victims of disability hate crime are often reluctant to report their experiences
  • If incidents of disability hate crime are reported, the bias motivation is seldom recorded, making investigation and prosecution less likely.

The FRA believes that:

  • EU and national criminal law provisions relating to hate crime should treat all grounds equally, from racism and xenophobia through to disability
  • The EU and its Member States should systematically collect and publish disaggregated data on hate crime, including hate crime against people with disabilities
  • Law enforcement officers should be trained and alert for indications of bias motivation when investigating crimes
  • Trust-building measures should be undertaken to encourage reporting by disabled victims of bias-motivated or other forms of crime.

To download the document, click here on http://fra.europa.eu