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The World Federation of the Deafblind

WFDB aims to improve the quality of life of people with deafblindness worldwide, with the objective of achieving their equal rights and equal opportunities in all areas of society, to be a worldwide forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences in the area of deafblindness, and to increase international solidarity among organisations of people with deafblindness.

What is deafblindness?

Deafblindness is a combined vision and hearing impairment of such severity that it is hard for the impaired senses to compensate for each other. Thus, deafblindness is a distinct disability.

To varying degrees, deafblindness limits activities and restricts full participation in society. It affects social life, communication, access to information, orientation and the ability to move around freely and safely.

To help compensate for the combined vision and hearing impairment, especially the tactile sense becomes important.

Representing between 0.2% to 2% of the population, persons with deafblindness are a very diverse yet hidden group and are, overall, more likely to be poor and unemployed, and with lower educational outcomes. Because deafblindness is less wellknown and often misunderstood, people struggle to obtain the right support, and are often excluded from both development and disability programmes.

World Population Affected by Deafblindness (2018)





Latin America & Carribean

North America


Mother with deafblind daughter

WFDB Global Reports on the situation and rights of persons with deafblindness

At risk of exclusion from CRPD and SDGS implementation: Inequality and Persons with Deafblindness

The WFDB is currently working on the 2nd Global Report, which will be published in the first half of 2022, to consolidate the findings on the situation of persons with deafblindness in different regions and contexts, as well as provide recommendations. 

Meanwhile, you can read the WFDB’s 1st Global Report, which combines the largest population-based analysis of persons with deafblindness conducted to date (disaggregation of 22 population-based surveys from low, middle and high-income countries), an academic literature review, two surveys conducted among WFDB members and partners and Sense International.

COVID-19 and deafblindness

Recommendations on inclusive policies from the global deafblind community

Latest news

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Updates on the SHAPES Project

WFDB is a consortium member of the SHAPES project, an Innovation Action funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme involving a total of 14

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Fundacion ONCE para la Atencion de Personas con Sordoceguera

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