Aging and combined vision and hearing loss

Authored by: Walter Wittich , Peter Simcock

The Routledge Handbook of Visual Impairment

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138085411
eBook ISBN: 9781315111353
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter begins with an overview of the current definitions of deafblindness, dual sensory impairment, and combined vision and hearing loss, followed by a review of the literature on prevalence data, with a particular focus on older people across different geographic locations and subpopulations. The third section centres on aetiology, noting both congenital and acquired conditions, and their development throughout the lifespan. We provide a succinct history of deafblindness research as a relatively young field, and then address the various categories of deafblind people, briefly highlighting the policy and campaigning organisations that champion them. Next, we review the psychosocial impact of deafblindness on older people, highlighting key issues from the perspectives of both those affected as well as the professionals that work with them. This section includes the priorities of older adults and how these link to the current development or offer of relevant services. Finally, the chapter concludes with a view of the future of deafblindness rehabilitation for older adults. Noting important gaps in the literature, we outline priorities for the research, policy and practice communities, and offer recommendations for further reading and current opportunities of investigation.

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