Advice and help for those with sight and/or hearing loss
Your sight may have deteriorated gradually as part of a long-term health issue or your sight loss may have happened suddenly.
The RNIB (opens in a new window) have a lot of information about sight loss.
Get advice from an optician as soon as you start to experience changes to your sight, however small.
If you already have sight loss it's important to look out for signs that your hearing is being affected. Visit your GP if you have any concerns.
RNIB (opens in a new window) has a free telephone counselling service for people who have lost or are losing their sight.
Hearing loss often develops with age and can happen over time although sometimes it can occur suddenly.
As soon as you notice any problems with your hearing you should see your GP.
NHS Choices (opens in a new window) has information about the symptoms and treatment of hearing loss.
If you already have a hearing problem it's important to look out for signs that your sight is being affected. Visit your GP if you have any concerns.
Action on Hearing Loss (opens in a new window) provides further information and advice about living with hearing loss.
People are considered deafblind if their combined sight and hearing impairment causes difficulty with:
- access to information
Visit your GP if you think your hearing and/or eyesight may be changing. It's important to get advice as soon as possible as treatment for some underlying causes of deafblindness can be more effective if started early.
Equipment to help
Equipment is available to help you carry out daily tasks.
The RNIB (opens in a new window) has advice about equipment to help if you have sight loss.
Action on Hearing Loss (opens in a new window) has advice about equipment to help if you have hearing loss.
Our libraries offer audiobooks and e-books:
- Bournemouth (opens in a new window)
- Christchurch (opens in a new window)
- Poole audiobooks (opens in a new window) and e-books (opens in a new window)
Sight and hearing centres
In Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, sight and hearing centres are run by local charities. No appointment is needed; just drop in for a chat about your needs, get advice and try out equipment.
Sight and hearing centres (opens in a new window) are located across Dorset.
Home visit sight and hearing tests
If you struggle to get out of the house and need a sight test or hearing test in your own home, we have information in our service provider directory.
You may want to go to a support group to talk to others with sight and hearing loss.
If you feel that you may need some support to remain safe and independent you can ask your council for an assessment. A rehabilitation officer will assess you and support you through any changes as a result of your sight and/or hearing loss. They will offer help and advice on:
- mobility within your home and daily living skills
- mobility and safety outside your home
- communication needs
- equipment to help you
- information about support groups
- benefits advice
- advice on education, employment and accessing your community
Contact us if you would like to request an assessment.
Advocacy may help you if you need help to express your views and wishes.
If you have sight loss you may qualify to be registered with the council. This could entitle you to a range of concessions including:
- VAT exemption to buy necessary equipment (opens in a new window)
- discounted travel on public transport
- half price TV licence (if you are registered severely sight impaired)
- Blue Badge (if you are registered severely sight impaired)
- Blind Person's Allowance (opens in a new window) (if you are registered severely sight impaired)
- free directory enquiries assistance from BT (opens in a new window) (if you are unable to read or hold a telephone directory because of your sight loss or other disability)
- discounts on leisure and activities
Sight loss registration
You can register as a person with sight loss if you have been referred to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) and they have completed a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI). This will confirm if you are either severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted). A copy of the CVI will automatically be sent to your local council who will contact you to complete the registration.
Contact your council if you have a CVI but have not been registered.