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Living with sensory loss

Losing your sight, hearing or both

When you start losing your sight, hearing or both you may feel grief, inadequacy, disorientation, loss of dignity, depression, isolation, anger, frustration and a feeling that life as you know it will be different.

These reactions are natural and normal.

You may need information and advice to help you at a time of re-adjustment.

Losing your sight

If you think that you are losing your sight speak with your doctor who may arrange a visit to the eye department at your local hospital. There is a lot of information to help you make the most of your sight:

If your eyesight has got worse since the last time you visited your doctor you may be referred to a consultant ophthalmologist. If the consultant considers that you are eligible to be registered as blind or partially sighted, with your permission, the doctor's practice will inform us as we are responsible for holding registers for people with sight or dual sensory loss.

You don't have to be registered to receive most services, but it is your chance to get valuable information and advice from professionals who have a lot of knowledge and experience of loss of sight, hearing or both including officers from our rehabilitation services for people with a visual impairment. Registering can also help you access some benefits and travel cards.

Losing your hearing

For most people, hearing loss happens slowly – you begin to miss the odd word of conversation or have to turn the television volume louder. If you’re starting to notice it, don’t worry: it happens to us all at some point in life.

If you think you are losing your hearing and you have not had a hearing test (within the last 5 years) please speak to your doctor first.

If a hearing aid is likely to help you, you will be referred to an ear, nose and throat specialist. The NHS supplies a wide range of hearing aids to adults. If your hearing impairment is severe, you may be entitled to a second aid.

Further information about managing your hearing loss:

Losing both your sight and hearing at the same time (dual sensory loss)

Losing both your hearing and sight at the same time is more than simply a loss of both senses; it is a distinct impairment with specific effects on someone's life. In various ways it will affect mobility, access to information and communication. The skills to deal with these challenges will vary, as will the support services required.

RNIB offers more information about dual-sensory loss (deafblindness)

Further information