What is Deafblindness?
Lesson 1 : Part 1 of 6
The generally accepted definition of Deafblindness is that persons are regarded as Deafblind “if their combined sight and hearing impairment causes difficulties with communication, access to information and mobility. This includes people with a progressive sight and hearing loss” (Think Dual Sensory, Department of Health, 1995). Deafblindness can be found in all age groups, including children and young people, but the incidence is greatest in older adults. (DOH – Care and Support for Deafblind Children and Adults Policy Guidance)
There are approximately 400,000 people in the UK who are deafblind, this figure is estimated to increase to over 600,000 by 2030 – mainly due to the increase numbers of older aged adults who will increasingly represent a larger percentage of the population over the next 15 – 20 years.
There are a wide range of people who could be described under the definition ‘Deafblind’ – it includes people with no functional vision and hearing, as well as people who still have some residual vision and hearing. It’s a popular misconception that the term only means people who cannot see or hear anything; although it can be used to describe that particular condition.
‘Dual Sensory Loss’ or ‘Dual Sensory Impaired’ are also terms used to describe a combined sight and hearing loss.
There are further categories under the definition of deafblindness, which attempt to better describe the cause of deafblindness – particularly relevant to the development of communication and language acquisition.