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Dual sensory loss (Deafbllind)

People who are deafblind have both sight and hearing loss, sometimes referred to as 'dual sensory loss'.

Someone is regarded as deafblind if their combined sight and hearing loss causes problems with communication, access to information and mobility.  Deafblindness can develop over time (acquired) or can be apparent from birth (congenital).

Social Services has a Sensory Services Team which includes specialist social workers and care managers who support people who have a combined sight and hearing loss. They can provide a range of information and practical support.

You may be referred to Social Services by an ophthalmologist or an audiologist, or you can refer yourself or someone you are concerned about.


The Sensory Services Team offer advice and information about:

We have a resource centre of equipment for people with sensory loss, offering an opportunity to trial equipment for suitability prior to purchase from providers.

A number of other services may be available to people who meet the eligibility criteria to receive support from Social Services. You would firstly need to have a care and support assessment.

Contact the Sensory Services Team Sensory Services Team


The following types of service may be offered to people who meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Functional assessment and issue of equipment to enhance independence, instruction in mobility and daily living skills.
  • Instruction and demonstration of specially designed IT equipment with speech synthesisers, touch screen and large print text etc.
  • Learning opportunities including arts and crafts which can help to improve manual dexterity and provide a new interest.
  • Direct payments, which can enable you to arrange your own support, perhaps through employing a personal assistant.
  • Respite care.
  • Residential care home services.
  • Domiciliary support.
  • Occupational therapy services.
  • Issue of equipment that would enhance independence. This would be fitted by our Technical Officer.
  • Day opportunities.


More about deafblindness

Both sight and hearing loss can appear in many forms with very different effects.

Sight loss

Some of the most common forms of sight loss include cataracts, glaucoma and age-related Macular degeneration. In order to discover any possible problem at an early stage it is important to visit the optician regularly.

Hearing loss

There are different causes of deafness. For example, some people are born Deaf and may use British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language. Some may acquire hearing loss as a result of, for example, illness, a hereditary condition or ageing in which case speech ordinarily remains your first language.


Registering your disability

If you have already visited a Consultant Ophthalmologist at a local hospital they may suggest registering as sight impaired or severely sight impaired in accordance with the definitions given in Section 29 of the National Assistance Act 1948.

If you are eligible for registration the Ophthalmologist will complete a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) to verify that you are sight impaired or severely sight impaired. A copy will be sent to you and also to your GP and the Sensory Services Team. The Sensory Services Team will then contact you to ask if you wish to be entered on to the local authority's register of disabled people.

If you have already visited an audiologist they may ask if you wish to be referred to Sensory Services Team. Your audiologist is not able to register any individual as hard of hearing or deaf. That is the role of the Sensory Services Team who will assess you in this respect. If they feel that you are eligible and you wish to register an application, details will be sent to you.

Is registration compulsory?

No, applying to be registered as sight impaired and/or deaf is completely voluntary. If you prefer not to register you will not be denied access to services.

Why register?

It makes it more straightforward for you to access certain services and benefits.

It also allows your name to be included on the register which assists your local authority in planning future services for yourself and other Deafblind people.


Registering as disabled

All local authorities are required to keep a register of disabled people, however registration is voluntary.

Search for advice and support

We have provided a list of local and national organisations which could offer you further advice and support.
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