What is Deafblindness?
Deafblindness is a condition where a person has both impaired vision and hearing. It is sometimes also referred to as dual sensory impairment or dual sensory loss. The prevalence of Deafblindness is between 0.2-3.3% of the population with nearly 100, 000 individuals reportedly suffering from the condition in Australia. Two thirds are over the age of 65years and 36% are over the age of 85.
What are the types of Deafblindness?
Congenital Deafblindness refers to when people are born Deafblind or when their combined hearing and vision impairments happen before spoken, signed or visual communication has developed. This occurs due to hereditary or genetic conditions, infections contracted during pregnancy by the mother or disease, infection or injury occurring early in the child’s development.
Acquired Deafblindness is when people who are born partially or fully deaf, later experience deterioration in their sight. One example is Usher syndrome which causes hearing impairment at birth and vision impairment later in life. Some people are also born with either hearing or vision impairment and experience an accident injury or disease later in life which can also cause them to be Deafblind. A significant number of people are Deafblind due to the ageing process causing dual sensory loss.
What are the effects of Deafblindness?
A small percentage of people with Deafblindness have no sight or no hearing. Many have a varying degree of vision or hearing impairment. The effects on the person’s life will vary depending on the degree of each impairment and whether or not they were born Deafblind or if it was acquired. Deafblindness affects the person’s ability to communicate and access information, impacting on their ability to socialise which leads to feels of isolation, low self esteem, lack of confidence and inability to live independently.
There are however ways around these communication barriers to enable people with Deafblindness to live a more independent lifestyle and have better quality of life.
For information about treatment, click here.
If you have questions about speech pathology contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns. Contact Us Today!