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Understand sensory loss Essay

1 Understand the factors that impact on an individual with sensory loss


analyse how societal attitudes and beliefs impact on individuals with sensory loss Any type of sensory loss can cause people to experience the ways in which society treats them differently. People often believe that any type of sensory loss also reduces people’s capacity to understand. Individuals may feel a loss of independence, as carers, family members, or members of the public can sometimes over compensate by doing too much for the person and not allowing the individual to adapt and learn new skills. This could lead to anxiety or depression as they have not been able to adjust to their loss, being too dependent on others for support.

Sufferers may lose confidence in social situations, if not communicated with appropriately or being dismissed due to their loss. People with any kind of sensory loss can have difficulties in finding employment. Even though the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act mean that employers cannot discriminate, it is hard to convince an employer that a sensory loss does not necessarily mean that someone is unable to do a job. Attitudes such as these can make it difficult for people to maintain self-esteem and can destroy confidence, with the result that they will attempt less.


explore how a range of factors, societal attitudes and beliefs impact on service provision The social model of disability supports the idea of person-centred services. For people with sensory loss, this means that services are planned in a way that gives people control over the services they need to support them. Most people are now offered a personal budget that enables them to work out a support plan based on what they are able to do for themselves, the informal support they have and identifying where paid support is needed to fill the gaps. Services are no longer based on a ‘gift’ model where professionals decide what services will best suit someone; person-centred service planning and delivery now put people at the heart of everything and give them choice and control over their lives. Personal budgets give people the chance to decide: what support they need

how they want the support delivered
whom they want to deliver the support
when they want support.
This is in total contrast to earlier models where services were delivered in the way most convenient for the organisation providing them and people were expected to fit in.

Case study

2 Understand the importance of effective communication for individuals with sensory loss

explain the methods of communication used by individuals with:

Sight loss

There are many ways that somebody with sight loss can communicate. Some examples of communication can be seen in print, using information technology, recording on to tape or disk, Braille or a specially adapted telephone. Computers, scanners, software and electronic magnifiers can frequently enable the person to read or write, while some staff find it beneficial to record information on to disk. A big button telephone enables people with sight loss to access the telephone.

Hearing loss

A number of people who are deaf or hard of hearing sometimes prefer to communicate using lipspeakers. These follow the conversation and repeat what is said but without using their voice; this in turn makes it easier for some people to lipread. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may access a speech-to-text reporter. This uses a special keyboard to produce a verbatim (word for word) report, which is displayed on a computer screen or a large screen, via a data projector, for the deaf person to read. This is an entirely different system to having a notetaker who will provide summary notes, not a verbatim account of what is being relayed. A telephone relay service is used by many people with a hearing loss who wish to communicate by telephone.

The message is relayed to an operator, who sends the message by text to the person with hearing loss. Straight text-to-text conversation does not need the help of an operator to translate speech to text. The use of hearing aids greatly enhances communication for some people who are hard of hearing. There are many types of hearing aids, induction loops and conversers on sale at present and some hearing aids are still available from the NHS.


People who are deafblind communicate using their remaining sight and hearing. They can also use touch with objects, known as tactile communication, or by using touch with people, known as tactual communication. Communicating with people who have a dual sensory loss is greatly enhanced by using clear speech and clearprint. People who have a vision loss after using signs for communication can still follow the signs being used by putting their hands over those of the person who is signing. The Deafblind Manual Alphabet is similar to BSL fingerspelling, but all of the manual alphabet is concentrated on the person’s hand in which you point to different finger positions on the deafblind person’s hand, or draw letter shapes.

Tactile communication:

• 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.

Tactual communication:

Tadoma is a form of tactual communication whereby direct contact is made between the hand of the deafblind receiver and the face of a talker to monitor the various articulatory actions that occur during speech.

explain how effective communication may have a positive impact on lives on individuals with sensory loss Positive communication can have a positive impact on the following improved health and emotional well-being

improved quality of life
making a positive contribution
choice of control
freedom from discrimination
economic well-being
personal dignity.

3 Understand the main causes and conditions of sensory loss

identify the demographic factors that influence the incidence of sensory loss in the population

As people age it is a common thought that losing some sight or hearing, or both, is a normal part of ageing rather than being potentially disabling. With rising numbers of people over the age of 60 and growing life expectancy, the percentage of older people who experience both sight and hearing loss is also escalating. In particular, there has been a major increase in the number of people living to ‘old’ old age (85+), when it is now thought that deafblindness is most likely to be challenging.

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