Causes and associated conditions

While some rare syndromes cause deafblindness, such as CHARGE and Usher syndrome, many people who are deafblind will have other (often rare) disabilities and health conditions, meaning that diagnosis and the identification of combined sight and hearing loss are difficult.

A girl playing on a bouncy castle holding a woman's handsMany children with profound and multiple learning disabilities will experience limited communication skills and impairments of vision and hearing.

Congenital rubella syndrome is no longer a significant cause of deafblindness, but other infections during pregnancy are a factor, for example cytomegalovirus and toxoplasmosis.

One in ten babies born prematurely will develop a permanent disability such as cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness or lung disease, or a combination of these. 

Illness and accidents can lead to sensory loss in children and adults, and a number of conditions lead to a loss of sight and / or hearing over time.

Sensory loss is just one more effect of old age. A hearing and vision loss may have crept up slowly on a person, so they only gradually realise something is wrong. As a result the everyday difficulties a person describes are not just to do with ageing but are the typical effects of deafblindness.

Below is a list of potential causes of deafblindness with links to websites containing additional information.

Please note that the information on these pages is for information purposes only. It should never be used for diagnostic or treatment purposes.

If you have questions regarding a medical condition, always seek the advice of your general practitioner or other qualified health professional.


Congenital rubella syndrome

Usher syndrome

Down syndrome

Cerebral palsy

A-Z of associated conditions

First published: Friday 18 May 2012
Updated: Tuesday 15 October 2013