To determine the prevalence of deafness and severe hardness of hearing among the Dutch population and of some relevant background characteristics.
Study of documents.
Dutch schools for deaf and hard-of-hearing children.
The number of deaf and severely hard-of-hearing children of 6-12 years who received education or ambulatory supervision at schools for deaf and hard-of-hearing children was counted in the period November 1996-April 1997, and a number of relevant background characteristics were collected. By means of consultation with experts, this number was corrected for children who could not be retrieved by means of the inventory at these schools. To estimate the total number of deaf and severely hard-of-hearing people in the Dutch population, this adjusted number was extrapolated to older and younger year cohorts.
The number of deaf and hard-of-hearing children of 6-12 years, after correction for missing groups, was 0.74 (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 0.69-0.78) per 1000 persons. In 9% the age of onset of the handicap was postlingual; they more often received ambulatory supervision and more often received education at a school for hard-of-hearing children than those with a prelingual auditive handicap. Of the children 29% had a non-Western origin; they less often received ambulatory supervision, and more often received education from a school for deaf children than indigenous pupils. Among the total Dutch population, the number of deaf and hard-of-hearing persons in 1996 was estimated to be 11,400 persons (95% CI: 10,690-12,110).
The prevalence of deafness and severe hardness of hearing in the Netherlands (15,490,000 inhabitants in 1996) was 11,400 persons (95% CI: 10,690-12,110).