In sensory loss (touch, mobility, vision, hearing) this can have a negative impact to an individual like for example in mobility an individual can experience poor mobility, leaning to one side or difficulty with their coordination, the individual may have difficulty to feed or dress themselves, or may not be able to participate in an activity and in some circumstances an individual may not be able to manage/maintain their personal daily living. Another is eyesight or vision, an individual who suffers from this disability may have a very hard time communicating or even to express themselves to what they want to do and what their wishes are without the help of another person. This case is the same with an individual who is deaf or have limited hearing.
Sometimes when you suffer from these disabilities, people easily judge you in a way that they try to seclude you or belong you to have a below average intelligence and assume that you cannot do or think for yourself or think the same as other people which may cause further illnesses for the individual such as depression, anxiety and isolation. There can also be a positive impact of having these disabilities because help is always available, aids and benefits are available to support you, there are care systems in place that an individual may use to support them with day to day living and encourage the individual to have a positive outlook on life, helping the individual lead as much as an independent life as possible which in the long run will ensure the individual is happy and secure.
Some steps that can be taken to overcome the negative factors could be; With an individual with sight impairment ensure the individual has their glasses on if prescribed, ensure the glasses are clean and the individual is able see through them. Ensure the area is clear of any obstacles to prevent the individual from tripping over or bumping into things, if the environment remains the same and items are not moved the individual may find it easier to move around as they will be familiar with where things are and will be able to avoid them.
An individual who has a hearing impairment may find it easier to hear you if they are taken in to a quiet and well lit environment to talk, also ensure the individuals hearing aids are in and working and the volume is turned up to their liking. Always make the individual aware of different groups and organisations that can help them, ensure people include the individual when they can instead of talking over them or leaving them out of activities as if they are not there. If this does happen then challenge any discrimination and explain why it is wrong.
People placing limitations on an individual with sensory loss can be disabling, for example, believing that a blind/poor sighted individual can’t manage alone or can’t see what others are doing toward them or others, or that of a deaf/poor hearing individual are funny because of the way they talk or are mocked for continually asking for a person to repeat themselves. These attitudes and beliefs can prevent the person being including in society as an equal. This can then have a negative effect on the individual which can cause a chain reaction of mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and isolation.
You can overcome disabling attitudes and beliefs in sensory loss by challenging discrimination immediately and explain why it’s wrong, model good practice. You can also get involved in social activities that promote positive attitudes. Outcome2
Sight loss – Always identify yourself to the individual and ensure you make it clear that you are speaking to them and not someone else, they can’t read your body language so you need to be clear about your meanings and directions etc. A noisy environment can make it difficult for them to concentrate on your voice so it may be better to try reduce background noise.
Hearing loss – Be respectful to the individual when trying to get their attention e.g. use a light touch on the arm, bend down to the individuals level so they can see your face, if they lip read they will need to see your face to be able make out what you’re asking them, you need to speak clearly at a normal pace and tone, you may need to be patient and repeat things.
Deaf blind – some of the above plus you need to know the levels of deafness and blindness and their preferred method of communication.
Individuals with sensory loss such as hearing or sight can benefit from different types of effective communication. Individuals with hearing loss may benefit from using sign language or pictures to communicate. Those with sight loss may benefit most from vocal communication and touch.
Information can be provided in many different ways to an individual with sensory loss listed below are a few examples of ways information can be passed on to the individual, Sensory loss –braille, tape recordings
hearing loss – British sign language, Makaton, visual aids e.g. pictures, lip reading. Deaf/blindness -, Braille is a system of raised dots which can be read by touch. The Moon alphabet consists of embossed shapes which can be read by touch. Objects of Reference are objects that have special meanings assigned to them. They stand for something in the same way that words do.
The main cause of sensory loss is aging, as we age our senses become less and less. Sensory loss can also be caused by an illness such as dementia or by having an accident and sustaining injury.
Congenital sensory loss means the individual was born with it, whereas acquired sensory loss is when the sensory loss has developed as is the result of ageing, serious injury or illness with the individual. 3.3
The percentage of the general population having sensory loss is 45%, according to http://www.sense.org.uk/content/research-deafblindness Sense estimates that there are around 250,000 deafblind people in the UK. Outcome 4
These are a few of the many indicators and signs to identify sight loss, hearing loss and deaf/blindness.
•Increased sensitivity to light and glare
•difficulty distinguishing colours
•Clumsiness, bumping into things in familiar surroundings
•difficulty distinguishing objects from one another
•holding books/papers close to face
•regular headaches/eyes hurting
•reduced night vision
•Trouble reading small print i.e. on medications
•difficulty recognising faces of family and friends
•squinting when watching the television
•loss of interest in hobbies such as needlework
•difficulty hearing clearly when in a group conversation or noisy room
•Asking people to repeat themselves all the time
•people appearing to mumble when they are talking normally
•not hearing the telephone ring or the door bell
•having to have the volume on high on the television or radio
•hearing better in one ear compared to the other
•Adult voices easier to understand than children’
•getting tired or stressed due to having to concentrate harder when listening Deaf and Blindness
•to response to sound or light
•sensitive to being touched
•difficulty making sense of surroundings
•Withdrawal and isolation
•use of other senses, taste, smell and touch, to gain information •personalised methods of communication
When concerns are raised regarding sensory loss or changes, the first course of action should be to contact their g.p, eye specialists who after examination may refer them to a specialist at the hospital for further hearing and vision tests.
If you are concerned about sensory loss or you know someone who is you can report this to your carers, seniors, mangers if in a care home setting. Regarding individuals living in their own home you can seek advice or report the problem to your local g.p, social worker or speak to family members. There is a website called sense you can look on for help and support regarding sensory loss and you’d like advice and information about the support and services available, you can call Sense on 0300 330 9256 or email: [email protected]
Courtney from Study Moose
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