– By Erin Lorde
Deafblindness is the dual sensory loss of sight and hearing, to the point where your communication, mobility, and ability to access information are impacted. This condition currently affects around 400 000 people living in the United Kingdom. It impacts each person differently, but for anyone affected, everyday activities can become difficult and time-consuming.
Every year there is a Deafblind Awareness Week to raise awareness around the condition and to inspire those living with deafblindness. This article will provide information and insights about Deafblind Awareness Week and about the condition.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DEAFBLINDNESS?
Deafblindness is often also referred to as ‘dual sensory loss’ or ‘dual sensory impairment’. This is because deafblindness has to do with the combination of loss of sight and hearing. This includes ‘progressive’ sight and hearing loss where sight and hearing may deteriorate over a period of time.
There is a large spectrum of deafblindness and the condition affects each individual differently. It does not mean a person is completely deaf or blind, most individuals who are deafblind have some levels of sight and/or hearing. But it’s not about the amount of sight and hearing; it’s about the combined impact of having more than one sensory impairment.
Deafblindness can be caused by various health conditions, illnesses, or simply from ageing. As noted by Helping Hands, “there are many challenges associated with hearing loss and people impacted by hearing loss have to adapt to a new lifestyle.” It is important for us all to recognise the signs of sight and hearing impairments in ourselves and in our friends and family – and to know that there is support available if it is needed.
WHAT IS DEAFBLIND AWARENESS WEEK?
Deafblind Awareness Week is always celebrated at the end of June to commemorate Helen Kellar’s birthday, which is the 27th of June. Helen Keller made a huge difference in the field of sight and hearing loss and without her contribution the world for deafblind people today may be very different.
Every year during Deafblind Awareness Week there are events, activities, and campaigns to raise awareness for this dual sensory condition. This week-long campaign has been held each year since 1984 when US President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation in recognition of this special week.
DEAFBLIND AWARENESS WEEK 2022
This year, Deafblind Awareness Week runs from 27 June 2022 to 3 July 2022. The focus of this year’s campaign is on Diversity and Inclusion and there will be many events and activities to spread awareness and information about the deafblind condition.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Taking part in Deafblind Awareness Week 2022 is easy and it will help to raise awareness for people living with sight and hearing loss. So whether you are a business, school, or individual, you can’t get involved and show your support in various ways.
An easy way to get involved is by downloading the official Deafblind Awareness Week posters and/or images at deafblind.org.uk. These posters and images provide an opportunity to raise awareness and learn more about deafblindness. They are an easy and effective way to show your support at school, at work, or in your community. Each poster/image contains facts about deafblindness for you to share.
You can also help raise awareness for deafblindness on social media by using the #DeafblindAwarenessWeek hashtag. Show your support on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts so you can help more people to be ‘in the know’ about deafblindness.
If you have a business or run a community group, you can book a free deafblind awareness talk to help people understand more about accessibility and how to support people around them with any sight and hearing loss.
You can also help raise awareness by sharing a story of deafblindness. The more people who understand, the more we can make life a little easier for people who are affected by it. By working together, we can make a huge difference!
Erin is a freelance writer who specialises in healthcare writing. Erin has produced this article specially for Deafblind Awareness Week to help inspire individuals and raise awareness of deafblindness.
Deaf Blind UK