New Report on Disability Available from NCHS

November 13, 1997

Contact: NCHS Public Affairs Office, (301) 458-4800, e-mail:

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics examines the use of assistive technology devices for vision, hearing, mobility, and orthopedic impairments. This is the first analysis of this kind from the National Health Interview Survey’s Disability Supplement. Highlights from the report titled “Trends and Differential Use of Assistive Technology Devices: United States, 1994” include:

  • An estimated 7.4 million persons in the U.S. household population use assistive technology devices for mobility impairments, the most frequent reason for using an assistive device. Almost 5 million people use canes, the single most utilized assistive device.
  • Another 4.6 million use assistive devices such as back braces and artificial limbs to compensate for orthopedic impairments.
  • 4.5 million use hearing aids, amplified telephones, closed caption television, and other assistive devices for hearing impairments.
  • 500,000 use these devices for vision impairments.
  • The majority of persons using these devices were over 65 years of age. Sixty-two percent of persons using mobility devices, 69 percent of persons using hearing devices, and 51 percent of persons using vision devices are over 65 years of age.
  • Use of assistive devices has increased dramatically over the past decade, in part due to the aging of the population but also due to technological advances, public policy initiatives, and changes in the delivery and financing of health care.

For further information about this report, please contact the National Center for Health Statistics at the telephone number or e-mail address above or write to the National Center for Health Statistics, 3311 Toledo Road, Hyattsville, MD 20782.


Page last reviewed: November 17, 2009