Defining disability is complex and contentious. The “medical model” of disability is based on a belief that disability is caused by an individual’s health condition or impairment. The Government encourages instead the use of the “social model” of disability which states that disability is created by barriers in society including the environment, people’s attitudes and organisations.
For this chapter of the JSNA, the term ‘sensory impairment’ encompasses visual impairment (including people who are blind and partially sighted) and hearing impairment (including those who are Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing). Dual sensory impairment (deafblindness) is referenced briefly in the chapter on visual impairment, but not enough data is available for a full chapter on dual sensory impairment. The analysis is for adults over 18 only and does not include data on child sensory impairment.