Deafblindness is far more common than many people realise… around 400,000 people are affected by sight and hearing loss in the UK. That’s enough to fill Wembley Stadium nearly five times.
Deafblindness is the loss of sight and hearing to the point where your communication, mobility and ability to access information are impacted. This includes ‘progressive’ sight and hearing loss; where your sight and hearing may deteriorate over a period of time.
Everybody with a combined sight and hearing impairment connects, communicates and experiences the world differently. The approach to support will vary, especially between the two broad types of deafblindness explained below. But with the right support, you can lead a connected and fulfilled life.
The two broad types of deafblindness are:
- Congenital deafblindness is a term used if a person is born with a sight and hearing impairment. This may be due to infections during pregnancy, premature birth, birth trauma and rare genetic conditions.
- Acquired deafblindness is a term used if a person experiences sight and hearing loss later in life. Anyone can become deafblind at any time through illness, accident or as a result of ageing.
Visit Deafblind.org to watch videos of individuals different experiences of deafblindness.
Support from your council
The legal definition of deafblindness was incorporated into the Department of Health’s Deafblind Guidance in 2014.
Councils in England and Wales have a responsibility to follow the requirements of the Deafblind Guidance.
This means that if you have a combined sight and hearing impairment you are entitled to an assessment under the Department of Health’s Deafblind Guidance. To get advice and support visit Sense
Advocacy Matters can support with a one to one advocate