Most deafblind people will still have some hearing or vision.
Deaf-blindness, disability in which an individual has both a hearing impairment and a visual impairment.
Deaf-blind individuals form a highly heterogeneous group, in which hearing and visual impairments are expressed to varying degrees. Hearing and visual impairment An individual is diagnosed with a hearing impairment if he or she has a hearing loss greater than 30 decibels in at least one ear.
There are different types of hearing loss.
A conductive hearing loss consists of damage to or obstruction of the outer or middle ear. A sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the inner ear or the auditory nerve.
A mixed hearing loss is diagnosed when an individual has both a conductive and a sensorineural hearing loss. Cortical deafness is caused by damage to the auditory cortex of the brain. A hearing loss of any kind can range from mild to profound. A conductive hearing loss can often be aided with hearing aids or surgery.
These means of treatment are ineffective, however, for combined conductive and cortical hearing loss, due to nerve damage associated with the latter, which causes distortions of sound.
A visual impairment can be caused by damage to the eye itself, damage to the visual nerve, or damage to the visual cortex in the brain.
Causes of deaf-blindness The causes of deaf-blindness vary greatly among the population of deaf-blind individuals. A genetic syndrome known as Usher syndrome is the most frequent genetic cause of deaf-blindness.
Other causes include illnesses or diseases of the pregnant mother or her child e. A combination of any of the causes mentioned above is also possible.
For example, an individual may be born deaf because of a genetic syndrome and may later lose vision as a result of an accident or illness. Deaf-blindness is also associated with premature birth. The type of hearing and vision loss can vary, depending on the underlying cause of deaf-blindness.
For example, individuals who experience vision and hearing loss secondary to Goldenhar syndrome are most likely to have a conductive hearing loss and damage to the eyes due to anomalies in the structure of the skull.
By contrast, individuals who had meningitis tend to have a sensorineural hearing loss and a vision loss due to damage to the visual nerve.
Communication and community membership Deaf-blindness must also be viewed from a cultural perspective. Depending on the age at which an individual became deaf and blind, he or she may be inclined to associate with and may feel closest to other similarly affected deaf-blind individuals.
This similarity is often based on the preferred method of communication used within the different groups. Individuals in the blind community and the mainstream community are likely to use spoken language as their main means of communication, whereas individuals in the deaf community are likely to communicate by using a signed language.
The deaf-blind community is the community with the most diverse communication methods. Some may use a signed language, whereas others may use a spoken language. Others may use writing, brailleor Tadoma i. Research on the deaf community has yielded a wealth of knowledge about deaf culture as a minority culture.
Deaf individuals tend to view themselves as members of a linguistic minority within society and often do not view themselves as disabled.
Members of the deaf community tend to have a number of characteristics in common: Individuals who were born blind or became blind early and later became deaf are more likely to use spoken language as their main means of communication. Because of their hearing loss, they might later add some signs, finger spelling, Tadoma, or other forms of manual communication e.
These individuals tend to identify with and therefore associate primarily with the blind community, with the mainstream community, or with the disabled community, and they may also associate with the deaf-blind community.Congenital deafblindness is a term used if a person is born with a sight and hearing impairment.
This may be due to infections during pregnancy, premature birth, birth trauma and rare genetic conditions. Define Deaf-blindness.
means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational problems that they cannot be accommodated in special education and related services solely for individuals with deafness or individuals with blindness.
"Deaf-blindness" is a category of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for students with both hearing & visual disabilities. Visit for more info. Deaf-Blindness. Deaf-blindness under federal law means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Deaf-blindness is a low incidence disability and within this very small group of children there is great variability. Many children who are deaf-blind have some usable vision and/or hearing.
The majority of children who are deaf-blind also have additional physical, medical and/or cognitive problems. National Center on Deaf-Blindness. The National Center on Deaf-Blindness is a national technical assistance center funded by the United States Department of Education working to improve the quality of life for children who are deaf-blind and their families.