Understanding sensory loss QCF 3
1.1 There are many factors that could have an impact on people who are blind or partially sighted. Partially sighted People would need to have a regular routine and a familiar layout of their things, their homes need to be in an order to be able to find the things they need quickly and easily without falling or bump into anything which has been moved out of place. Difficulty in reading, unable to see facial expressions can have a huge impact missing out on vital and important information, having to rely on others to read private and confidential mail. This in turn effects their independence, privacy and dignity. A partially sighted or blind person would not be able to tell if someone was talking directly to them if being passed in the street, e.g. someone may say good morning in passing. All these things are important for effective communication. Hearing aids, large print books, brail or talking books may help overcome some of these problems.
People with sensory loss can find it extremely difficult and frustrating to communicate. One way of communication is by touch. E.g. communicate with deaf and blind people by Drawing large printed letters on their hand with your finger, spelling out the words. A brail communicator is an excellent way for deaf/blind people to communicate with other people, it can read out the words for the sighted person to understand the individual’s needs. Familiar layout in the home and routines are a must as being unable to find things, knowing what time of the day it is and familiar with their surrounding to prevent trips or falls or any other potential injury.
1.2 Attitudes and beliefs of society can have a negative impact on people with sensory loss. The lack of understanding. Assuming some body is deaf and raising their voice when in fact they could be blind. People do things without thinking like moving objects and not putting them back in its place once finished causing people who are visually impaired vulnerable to trips, falls or unable to pass safely. Parking on pavement we often see, the driver not leaving enough room to pass, forcing the individual to walk on the road. Employment can be difficult. Sensory loss does not mean a person cannot do the job but are very often discriminated against even though Equality and disability discrimination acts are put in place to prevent this.
There are things in place to improve the quality of life and social inclusion such as sign language on tv, audio description, cinemas and theatres have a special loop system so people can hear the film or performance.
1.3 Societies attitudes and beliefs impact on service provisions for people with sensory loss. Everybody has a right to be treated as an individual and have the right to access to services which could possibly improve quality of life. The social model of disability supports person centred services to give people with sensory loss more control over the services they need according to their budget. People will have a choice on which support service is needed is needed, who they want to deliver it, when and how they want it delivered.
2.1 Methods of communication for partially sighted and blind people communication can be a real issue for them. To overcome these problems, audio books, taped information, braille and large print in capital letters so letters can be easily distinguished. Nonverbal things like touch, eye contact depending on severity of sight loss. People with hearing loss can communicate effectively by other methods these include sign language, lip reading, touch, facial expressions, pictures etc. People who are deaf and blind sometimes can communicate using remaining sight and hearing. They can use touch with objects, known as tactile communication, some may make different sounds to distinguish what they need. Finger spelling where the letters or shapes are drawn on a person’s hand.
2.2 Environmental – By Using contrasting colours can highlight safety features such as red for danger, reducing the risk of injury. Using contrast in colours allows a person to differentiate between surfaces and objects placed on them.
2.3 People with sensory loss can have a positive impact if effective communication is being delivered. It can help with coping with sensory loss, maintain relationships and friendships. The ability to make choices and decisions in their own life will enable confidence building.
3.1 Age is the most common factor of sensory loss. As we get older it deteriorates. Most people sensory loss occurs between ages of 30 and 40 years old and increases as we get older. Common causes of hearing loss are exposure to loud noises, known as noise induced hearing loss, the hairs in the ears become damaged. Genetic abnormality such as downs syndrome, viral infections such as Rubella can contribute to sensory loss. Drug and alcohol induced by pregnant mothers can cause deaf/blindness to their babies.
3.2 Congenital – sensory loss from birth
Acquired – Sensory loss because of age, injury or illness
3.3 There are many factors that influence Demographic sensory loss in the population. The main one is age. As people age our sensory loss increases and is a normal part of getting older. With more people over 60 and the longer life expectancy, sensory loss is escalating. Exposure to loud noise levels in the community is also a factor, loud noises can damage your hearing. Infections passed from person to person can also be a factor of sensory loss
4.1 Eye sight deteriorates gradually rather than suddenly. The warning signs can be subtle and can go unnoticed until it becomes a nuisance. Signs to look out for would be, squinting, bumping into things, hesitantly walking close to walls. Keeping note of any headache, migraine or eyes hurting. Hearing also deteriorates gradually. Look out for signs of frequent repetitions, unable or difficulty to follow a conversation, talking loudly, TV or radio on high volume. A combination of sight and hearing deterioration could possibly indicate deaf/blindness.
4.2 Voice your concerns to the person in question and let them know what you have observed. Suggest having an investigation done by their GP and assure them that they will be able to get the right treatment from specialists and inform them of any aids that may be appropriate for them.
4.3 Specialist organisations such as RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) and RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf), provide specialist advice and information on local facilities. GP’s, local hospitals and primary care trust can offer sensory support teams to offer advice on good practice. Many carers and support workers undergo training in sensory loss enabling them to offer better support.