Dual Sensory Impairment – What to Know & How to Treat

Dual sensory loss refers to a person who has both sight loss and hearing loss and occurs in 10 to 20 percent of those over the age of 70. Hearing and seeing problems can be quite overwhelming, but they can be diagnosed and treated to reduce the impact on the lives of older people.
Graphic depicting dual sensory impairment

Did you know that 10 to 20 percent of people over 70 years of age have a condition called dual sensory loss? Well, it’s common for older people to see changes in their health, particularly in their sense of sight and hearing. But that is not to say that they should be taken for granted. Hearing and seeing problems can be quite overwhelming, but they can be diagnosed and treated to reduce the impact on the lives of older people.

That said, here’s what you should know about dual sensory impairment. Keep on reading to learn more about treatment options and preventive measures.

Dual sensory impairment

In a nutshell, dual sensory loss refers to a person who has both sight loss and hearing loss, which is also called deaf-blindness for more severe impairments. Dual sensory impairment is when a person begins to have a declining sense of vision and hearing. This condition can be congenital or a natural ageing process. It can also be caused by genetic diseases, such as Usher’s syndrome.

The need for treatment

Getting treatments for dual sensory impairment is vital for a handful of reasons. Below are some of these:

  • Impaired social interactions: The chances are that an individual will avoid social interactions as he or she is often misunderstood. 
  • Compromised health and safety: Someone with a declined sense of hearing and sight might be prone to accidents.
  • Impacted quality of life: With treatments and assistive devices, a person can continue to live as close to a normal person as possible.

Treatments options

Now, you may wonder what the treatment options entail. For your guide and reference, the entire treatment process includes the following:

Close up of an audiologist performing a hearing test on a patient.
A simple hearing test can uncover any hearing issues you may be experiencing
  • Medical assessment: Healthcare professionals need to perform thorough medical assessments to see what’s causing hearing loss and vision loss. Your ophthalmologists and otolaryngologists will check your sense of sight and hearing, respectively.
  • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation treatments are provided after a proper diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. Rehabilitation therapists can help with adaptation and accommodation. They will prescribe assistive devices and teach coping strategies to patients in order to make everyday tasks and communication a lot easier.

 

Preventive measures

It’s worth knowing that treatments won’t necessarily cure the vision and hearing conditions. However, they can slow down the deterioration, stabilize the condition, and relieve any discomfort. When it comes to preventive measures, there are a few things that you can resort to, as follows:

  • Limit your exposure to loud noises and eye-sensitive lighting. 
  • Take good care of your eyes and ears daily so that they won’t be subjected to developing conditions. 
  • Proper nutrition and food consumption can be beneficial for your sense of sight and hearing.

Final words

If you have noticed some changes in your vision and hearing, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a health professional as soon as possible. When diagnosed with dual sensory impairment, there’s no other way than to work closely with these professionals for the right treatments. That said, consider all the valuable information and see how you can rise above the situation.

If you want to have your hearing looked at by an audiologist, visit our hearing clinic in Abbotsford for a free consultation.

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