Communication and acquired deafblindness

If you lose your sight and hearing later in life, you may need to adapt or learn new methods of communication.

Someone who loses their sight and hearing after they have developed formal language is said to have acquired deafblindness.

As your sight or hearing changes, you may need to learn alternative methods of communication. Your family, friends, colleagues and people you meet will also have to adapt to how you like to communicate.

If your vision changes, for example, you may choose to learn and use Deafblind Manual. This is an adapted form of fingerspelling taken from British Sign Language (BSL). It involves you and the person you’re having a conversation with spelling out individual letters on each other’s hand.

Or, you may decide to use hands-on signing. This is where you place your hands over the hands of the person you’re communicating with so that you can feel the signs they are making.

If you have Usher syndrome you may retain sufficient vision to continue using sign language but within a reduced visual frame.

You can, of course, use one or more methods to give and receive information, and there are lots of formal and non-formal approaches that you can use to do this.

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