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Deafblindness - Diagnosing hearing and vision problems

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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It is important that a

deafblind person's level of hearing and sight are accurately and regularly assessed

. How well a person can hear and see will affect the level

of care and support they need.

Deafblindness can have a significant impact on a person's ability to live independently, including:

  • the ability to make choices and take control of your life
  • health and safety
  • managing the daily routines of personal and domestic life
  • involvement in education, work, family, social and community activities

Specialist assessment

A specialist assessment should be arranged as soon as deafblindness has been identified by your local authority.

The assessment should be carried out by a specially trained professional who is able to identify the deafblind person's needs. During the assessment, the following criteria will be taken into consideration:

  • communication
  • one-to-one human contact
  • social interaction
  • emotional wellbeing
  • support with mobility
  • assistive technology
  • rehabilitation

The assessment will also take into account current needs and those that will develop in the future. For example, it will be easier for a person to learn alternative forms of communication before their condition deteriorates.

It is important that the deterioration of one or both senses is identified at an early stage so that appropriate action can be taken. This is particularly important in the case of children.

A deafblind person should have access to services suitable to their level of hearing and sight and their individual needs. Mainstream services aimed mainly at blind people or deaf people may not be appropriate for someone with a dual sensory impairment.

Read more about the treatments and services that are available for deafblind people.

Medical Review: March 02, 2012
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