Eight Christmas gift ideas for adults with sensory impairments

This Christmas, are you looking for a gift for a visually impaired person, or someone who is hard of hearing?

Buying gifts for disabled adults is no different to buying gifts for anyone else: you should tailor your gift to the person you’re shopping for. Everyone is unique, and will have different tastes and preferences. 

But there are some sensory and tactile gifts that might be more meaningful to people who are deafblind or sensory impaired. 

Shopping for a child? Check out our gift guide for children with sensory impairments.

Close-up of a Christmas tree with baubles and lights.

Gifts for D/deaf and/or blind people

To get some ideas for our Christmas shopping, we asked some colleagues and friends of Sense who are deafblind about what they’re hoping to receive.

Their answers include an idea for every budget, whether you’re shopping for a workplace Secret Santa, or a significant other!

Scented candles

From £1

Hands holding a candle, surrounded by other candles.

Scented candles are a no fuss, no-instructions-needed gift. I have a lot of light perception, so I am able to light the candles independently. 

Scent just adds depth to whatever I am doing. It also tells you quite a lot about the person giving you the gift, too! 

– Max

A lap tray

From £7.99

A memorable gift I received was from Mum last year, it was a tray I could use to put my dinner on when I’m watching TV. 

It was a dark colour so I could see my plate better. I like it because sometimes I don’t want to sit at the table with my friends, I want to watch Eastenders and eat a bit later! 

– Alison

Tactile, bright clothes

Prices vary

This year I would like some new clothes. I want tactile clothes where I can feel large buttons and a fluffy jumper. 

I like clothes in bright colours. My favourite jacket is red and I would like a pink one.

– Alison

Voice-activated smart technology

From £17.99 for a smart speaker

Close-up of a smart speaker on a table.

Alexa is a very helpful gift.

I have set prompts on mine to remind me to do things so I can be more independent.

If I need support in the night, I can call staff by talking to Alexa from my bed. It’s also good for asking about the weather conditions for the day, so I can plan what to wear and what activities to do. 

– Lin

A talking clock


Everyone needs a good clock to wake you up in the mornings! This is a talking clock that tells the time and date for you. 

It comes in contrast block colours, black and white, so it’s easy to see in the daytime and night time. 

It also has tactile buttons and an adjustable volume level, so it’s much easier to use than a digital or touch screen clock. 

– Ian

An e-reader

From £79.99 (or cheaper secondhand)

An e-reader on a table with a mug, notebook, pen and glasses.

I love reading, but due to my eyesight I can’t read physical books anymore, so my wife got me an Amazon Kindle. It has been one of the best gifts I’ve had, as I’m a born book worm!  

A Kindle brings back the joy of reading, as you can make it accessible for you. For example, I have one that has a light on so I can make it bright and also make the font as big as I need it.

You can buy them from Amazon, or you can buy them secondhand as they are just as good. 

– Emma

A smart cane


The gift I would like to receive this year is the WeWALK smart cane.

This would provide me greater independence whilst travelling and navigating. 

The things that stand out to me about this cane are: the built-in navigation with Google Maps, the smart app that it comes with and the object avoidance systems that help you to avoid tree branches and lamp posts by making the cane handle vibrate.

– Sam

A refreshable braille display


Close-up of hands using a braille machine.

If you have a big budget for your loved one this Christmas, a braille display could make a big difference in their life.

A braille display is a piece of technology that can connect to a computer, smartphone or tablet and translates the onscreen information into braille.

I use mine for reading emails on my phone, reading documents at work and, most importantly for me, reading e-books using the Kindle app on my smartphone.

– Steven

Help everyone feel the joy of Christmas

Everyone should feel included at this very special time of year, including those with complex disabilities. Please give what you can.