Seeing is believing. Losing your hearing will cause difficulties for you in every aspect of your life. Losing your sight as well spells double trouble. Seeing and hearing are inextricably linked together. People aged 55 and over with combined vision and hearing loss comprise the largest group of people who are ‘deaf-blind’ in the United States. Many of them remain unserved, or underserved, without good hearing care solutions. You may not believe the improvements you see when you start wearing your new hearing aid.

See a hearing care consultant at Clarisound

Loss of vision is caused by an eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), which affects the layer of light-sensitive tissue in your retina at the back of your eye. The most common causes of vision loss in ageing adults are;

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Diabetes/diabetic retinopathy

If you, or your loved one, have had good eyesight all your life, the impact of this loss can be profound and devastating. If you also develop any degree of hearing loss, the results can be overwhelming.

Visible hearing loss

The most common genetic cause of deaf-blindness is called Usher syndrome. People with Usher experience hearing loss and have the progressive sight loss of RP. This may become apparent by difficulty seeing at night or in poorly lit environment, or the loss of peripheral vision.

There are three types of Usher syndrome, which manifest different levels of hearing loss;

  • Type 1 – causes profound deafness and vision loss may be noticed before the age of 10. Poor balance causes problems with sitting and walking properly but communication can be improved with a hearing aid and lip-reading or sign language.

 

  • Type 2 – causes a moderate hearing loss. This may appear during adolescence and can be helped with hearing aids and cochlear implants, a small electronic device that consists of an external portion that sits behind your ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under your skin.

 

  • Type 3 – is the rarest form of Usher syndrome. Children usually have normal hearing and vision at birth, then develop hearing loss and RP in adolescence, or later. Their hearing can deteriorate steadily over ten or fifteen years. Again, wearing hearing aids helps.

 

Most people with Usher syndrome start using hearing aids from a young age. Remember, the sooner you start wearing hearing aids the more cost effective this will be. Wearing a hearing aid is as natural as wearing spectacles. It doesn’t take much to get used to both and they will both improve your quality of life.