Physical Disability (Adults)

The term ‘Physical Impairment’ refers to people who have one or more physical impairments. These impairments may be congenital or acquired at any age, be temporary, long-term, or fluctuating. People with physical impairments may often have unique & multi-dimensional requirements. They therefore require tailored services to address them all in a person-centered holistic fashion.

The term ‘Sensory Impairment’ encompasses visual impairment (including blind and partially sighted), hearing impairment (including those who are profoundly deaf, deafened and hard of hearing) and dual sensory impairment (deafblindness). Sensory impairments may, like physical impairments, be congenital or acquired at any age. They are more prevalent with age as are additional sensory or other impairments. Most sensory impairments develop gradually and are often secondary to other disabilities.


By 2018, it is predicted that the number of residents with a moderate physical disability aged between 18 and 64 will have risen slightly from 7,166 in 2014 to 7,202. This would result in around 0.5% of the overall population of the borough having some form of physical disability.


In Knowsley, there are 470 people registered as blind, with a further 575 registered as partly sighted (total 1,045). The rate of certifications of visual impairment per 100,000 populations in 2010/11 was 51.6, compared to England level of 43.1.

The estimated number of people living with sight loss in 2011, is much greater at around 4,000 the equivalent of 2.74% of the population, this is similar to England levels (2.95%). It is predicted by 2020, that this will increase around 4,920 equating to about 3.23%. People aged 70 and over and adults with diabetes are at highest risk.


The prevalence of sight loss and/or hearing loss increases with age and so the prevalence will increase with an ageing population.

One in five people aged 75 and over and one in two people aged 90 and over are living with sight loss in the UK.

Age-related damage to the cochlea is the single biggest cause of hearing loss: 71.1% of over 70 year-olds and 41.7% of over 50 year-olds have some form of hearing loss.

There are 36,000 people aged 16-49 who are severely or profoundly deaf, and total of around 1.15 million with any hearing loss in the same age group. Around the age of 50 the proportion of people with hearing loss begins to increase sharply.


The full JSNA report can be accessed here: Physical Disabilities