Tackling isolation, increasing independence

To change the face of age acquired dual sensory loss in the UK

What is age acquired dual sensory loss?

Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment Support UK (Hi-VisUK) is a charity raising awareness and increasing support for older people with acquired dual sensory loss (deafblindness).

Our Vision

“A deafblind friendly country where early identification and early support make a real difference to the mental health and wellbeing of older people in our ever increasing, longer living society.”

Adopting our methods of early identification and early support will allow low cost interventions that keep people living at home longer, supported by their deafblind aware families. This will be a real alternative to potentially unaffordable care costs.

Future generations will be both self-aware and more able to support their elderly family members to enjoy the activities they used to – even as their sight and hearing deteriorates with age and as families live together for longer.

See more on our vision in the About Us page.

Our Community

Anyone, any organisation, any donor who wants to support older people with age acquired deafblindness is our community.

Hi-VisUK is a charity working to increase and improve the quality of life of older people by showing them, and those who support them, how to manage their age acquired dual sensory loss.

Hi-VisUK is for all those connected to older people with dual sensory loss who believe as we do that becoming dual sensory impaired doesn’t have to mean they cannot live at home or do the things they always loved.

Are you a family member, a volunteer or paid carer, a local group or charity working with older people, a care service provider, or a local authority or health service? Are you looking to donate to support families and our work? We would love to hear from you.

We can provide a package to help you support older people better including: training, advice, information, and work with your organisation to develop solutions.

What is the problem?

As we get older our sight and hearing gradually worsens – simply because we are getting older. For a significant number of people aged over 60 this becomes a real problem. The challenge for them and all those who love and care for them is that far too many are not identified with the condition. Consequently they do not receive the information and support they need.

Most people over 60 years old with this condition will have deafness caused by presbyacusis, most commonly they will have the sensorineural form of deafness. This is coupled with an eye condition  – most commonly either cataracts or age related macular degeneration. Sensorineural deafness and age related macular degeneration are currently incurable conditions but the impact on quality of life can be significantly lowered with early identification, support and training – as required under the Care Act 2014.

Even low levels of sight and hearing loss, when they occur together, can cause significant health, wellbeing and mental health problems. For example, the Department of Health (2009) lists health impacts of age related dual sensory loss on 75+ year olds. These include being 3 times more likely to have a fall and 2.7 times more likely to have depression.

By far the biggest impact is social isolation as, without the right support, it greatly reduces their ability to stay in touch with others and to get out and about.

Hi-VisUK Videos

Snippets from our Social Return On Investment (SROI) acquired dual sensory loss research project

“It is also noted that almost 40% of respondents reported finding the training useful in their personal lives with family, friends or neighbours who are deafblind. This indicates added value to the training increasing the numbers of deafblind people being supported either informally or formally in a work setting.”

From our SROI research interviews.
From our SROI research interviews.Our learners talking about what our training means to them.

“Much of this equipment (to support an older deafblind person) is small scale, inexpensive and practical yet deafblind people appear to have little awareness of the availability of such equipment. The training has raised awareness of carers, support staff and others, with the result that deafblind people are beginning to benefit from the use of such equipment. This finding is now being confirmed by deafblind people.”

From our SROI research interviews.
From our SROI research interviews.How our training raises awareness about equipment for daily living tasks.

“…there are also early indications that the knowledge/experience and changing practices (as a result of the training) not only improve services and support but could ultimately create cost savings/save money…respondents reported that their organisation had been able to save money as a result of the knowledge gained in the training.”

From our SROI research interviews.
From our SROI research interviews.Evidencing how our work is improving services.

“A large majority of respondents who have completed one or more of the training courses report positively as to the design, quality and content of the training. Respondents also report that the training has improved not only their knowledge and understanding but also their confidence in working with and supporting deafblind people. This increase in confidence appears to be pivotal in how they do this.”

From our SROI research interviews.
From our SROI research interviews.Learners commenting on how our courses can build a more confident workforce.