Implications of Deafblindness

Did you know that 80-95% of information comes to us through our vision and hearing? Individuals who have a hearing and vision loss cannot access the same amount or quality of information without accommodation for their sensory losses.

Of the five senses, vision and hearing are primary. Through them we gain information about people and our environment.


As much as 80% of what we learn is learned visually.

Hearing is the basis of the communication/language system that most people use.

Consider the additional impact if any of the remaining three senses are involved!

When the two major channels for receiving information are impaired or not functioning, any or all of the following developmental areas can be affected:


  • Communication and language developmen
  • Movement and motor development
  • Cognitive development and the ability to learn
  • Emotional and social development
  • Body image and self concept



Depending on the age of onset, the effects on learning may include:


  • Difficulty with communication.
  • Distorted perceptions: Difficulty in imaging the whole picture or relating one element to the whole.
  • Anticipation: Difficulty in knowing what is going to happen next, lacking the context normally provided through "overseeing" or "overhearing" information and cues.
  • Motivation: The motivating factors may be missing from a situation, going unseen or unheard.


The implications and impact that deafblindness has upon an individual will vary considerably, particularly between those born deafblind and those with acquired deafblindness. Most people who are deafblind have some degree of functional vision and/or hearing. They may wear glasses or hearing aids to maximise the use of their available vision and/or hearing.

The impact of deafblindness on the child or adult and their family is greatly influenced by communication and connection to family and friends, appropriate developmental, educational opportunities and employment opportunities, recreation and leisureactivities and family support.