Deafblindness is a very specific and complex disability. Very often, many people identified as having multiple disabilities, developmental delay or age-related problems may be deafblind. According to the European Deafblind Indicators study, in 2014 there were over 3 million people with deafblindness in Europe alone, and many of these people are unidentified and do not receive the care they need to ensure a satisfactory degree of autonomy and well-being.
Thus, an essential problem has been identified: many cases of deafblindness remain undetected, or are misdirected from the perspective of other disabilities or pathologies. For a correct approach, early detection of cases is needed as early as possible, as well as the guidance of a team of deafblind professionals in each country.
To this end, the European Deafblind Network has a proposal to solve the problems of early detection: our mobile application “Deafblind detector”. This application is a practical way to help any non-expert in deafblindness to detect this condition through the use of descriptors for the different types of deafblindness (congenital, acquired and age-related). Thanks to the data entered in this application, the user will get a test result with the percentage of probability that the person is deafblind and instructions for requesting an assessment. From there, if the user wishes, they can request an assessment from the specialised centre in their country.
Our application is very intuitive to use. On the initial screen, the health professional or user can choose between 3 languages: English, Catalan and Spanish. From there, the user can be introduced to deafblindness through a video, and can read a brief explanation of the general problems associated with deafblindness. On the same screen, the basic data of the person to be tested, such as name and age, can be entered.
On the second screen, the user will find an introduction to the medical conditions identified as causes of deafblindness. In addition, the user will be able to select whether the person suffers from a rare disease or syndrome, or whether no etiology has been determined.
On the third screen, if no etiology has been determined, the user will be asked for more information about the moment of onset of visual and hearing loss. Thus, the user can choose between congenital, acquired or age-related deafblindness. Depending on the set of options chosen, a series of prompts based on the deafblindness descriptors will appear.
Finally, when the descriptors that best suit the situation of the person being tested have been selected, a final screen will appear indicating the percentage probability that the person has deafblindness. If deemed necessary, below the results, the user can enter their details to request a specialised assessment and forward the case to their respective deafblind organisation.
Currently, this free app is available for Android and Apple in all countries. However, we are looking to improve some features and we are currently in an evaluation phase. Therefore, we encourage all DbI member organisations to download the app, test it and send us any recommendations you think are needed to improve it. In addition, we encourage you to spread the app to all health centers in your country. Once we have received your requests, our app development team will assess the situation and make the appropriate changes. Help us improve case detection with your feedback!
Our app, Deaf-blind detector, provides a percentage of the probability to get a medical diagnosis. This app does not provide any treatment, but advice. Its aim is to help health professionals to reach a diagnosis, and it cannot only be done with the app’s results but requires the application of more tests. In order to avoid any confusion, we recommend that users seek the advice of a doctor with expertise in this specific condition rather than making any medical decision on their own.