Communication with pharmacists presents unique challenges for Deaf/Hard of Hearing (HOH) patients, and has immense implications for increasing medication adherence and reducing medication errors in this population.

Prevalence of deafness and hearing loss

  • One in five adults in the UK are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.  
  • 12 million adults in the UK are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus. That is roughly 10.1 million people in England, 1 million people in Scotland, 610,000 people in Wales and 320,000 people in Northern Ireland. 
  • In the UK more than 40% of over 50s have hearing loss, rising to 70% of over 70s.   
  • By 2035, we estimate there’ll be around 14.2 million adults with hearing loss greater than 25 dB HL across the UK.   
  • An estimated 1.2 million adults in the UK have hearing loss severe enough that they would not be able to hear most conversational speech.

The primary reason for the rise in hearing impairments is the increasing age of the population. Hearing tends to decline for most people as they age. Noise-induced hearing loss is also a major area of concern with damage caused by listening to loud music through headphones. 


McKenzie Ferguson, Min Liu, Communication needs of patients with altered hearing ability: Informing pharmacists’ patient care services through focus groups, Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, Volume 55, Issue 2, (2015): 153-160, ISSN 1544-3191,

Akeroyd MA, Browning GG, Davis AC, Haggard MP. Hearing in Adults: A Digital Reprint of the Main Report From the MRC National Study of Hearing. Trends in Hearing. 2019;23. doi:10.1177/2331216519887614 

Skip to content