Communication aids and support

There are so many different ways available to support all methods of communication, from technology to personalised one-to-one support.

Thanks to developments in digital and assistive technology people with complex disabilities now have many more ways to communicate and connect with other people.

Here is an outline of the types of technology and specialist one-to-one support available.

Technology-based communication aids

  • Hearing aids may benefit people born with a hearing impairment or those whose hearing has deteriorated but who still retain some residual hearing. Hearing aids don't completely restore hearing but can help to make the sounds you need to hear louder.
  • Cochlear Implants, a surgically implanted hearing device, may be of benefit to some people. These are usually only suitable for people who have a profound hearing loss and for whom hearing aids are not effective.
  • Smartphones can be used for many things, of course, including keeping in touch, looking for information and finding your way around. Some smartphones have increased amplification, hearing aid compatibility, magnification software and braille displays.
  • Social media has meant that individuals and communities that were previously isolated can link up, form friendships and join a community.
  • Braille keyboards, voice synthesisers and enlarged text enable people who are visually impaired to read from a screen and use their computers to the full.
  • A wide range of computer programmes have been developed to help everyone, no matter how complex your disabilities, to learn, make choices and follow your interests.

Find out more about our approach to using technology at Sense.

Personalised communication support


Interpreters can act as a translator between you and the person or people you are communicating with.

Types of interpreters include:

  • British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters: many interpreters can adapt their skills to visual frame signing, hands-on signing and Sign Supported English (SSE).
  • Deafblind Manual interpreters.
  • Speech-to-text reporters and palantypists: who listen to what is being said and type the words on to a keyboard. This can then be relayed either to a screen or an electronic braille reader.

You can find an interpreter through The National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD).

Intervenors and communicator guides

Intervenors and communicator guides are specially trained to work one-to-one with people in a number of ways, including aiding communication.

Like interpreters, they can act as an intermediary between you and the person or people you are communicating with.

Find out about Sense Intervenors and Communicator Guides.

Social haptic communication

Social haptic communication can be used to add to the information that a person receives through other methods of communication, such as speech or sign language.

The individual receives additional touch signals from another person, often on their back, or another part of their body.

For example, in the picture below, a musician with sight and hearing impairments receives instructions from the conductor of the orchestra through social haptic communication from his support worker.

A man playing a piano

Get in touch

Get in touch for information and advice about communication

Contact us
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