Ssmu 3.1

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  • Topic: Ear, Blindness, Vision loss
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SSMU3.1 – Understanding Sensory Loss –
Gemma Nelson (Ashcroft House)

1.1 Analyse how a range of factors can impact on individuals with sensory loss

* Impact on Communication
Sensory loss can frequently lead to isolation and frustration at not being able to communicate efficiently with other people. With hearing loss, day-to-day activities such as hearing a doorbell, using the telephone, watching television or taking part in conversations can produce feelings of inadequacy within the individual. Not being able to distinguish faces, read the time on a clock or drive can produce the same feelings in a person who has vision loss. Hearing loss interferes with face-to-face communication and can often cause older people to lose interest in everyday activities, making them more likely to miss information given by their doctor or family members.

Having a dual sensory loss more often than not compounds the frustration and isolation an individual feels when trying to communicate with others around them and individuals who are losing both their hearing and their vision will find it difficult to look for clues in the conversation. This will be particularly severe with a person who has central vision loss, as this then may completely remove the ability to read lips or to see faces.

* Impact on Information
Access to written information specifically for people with a vision loss is not readily available and information is not forthcoming. Furthermore, people with a hearing loss may need access to information that is not in a written format e.g. by telephone and signed information. The impact on information is greatly enhanced when a person has a dual sensory loss. Having to rely on someone else removes or reduces independence and privacy for a person and so access to information of any sort is imperative.

* Impact on Familiar Routines and Layouts
Sight plays a major role in maintaining awareness, people suffering from vision impairment or loss can lose a sense of what is around them and where they are. Although listening to sounds is useful, it can move and then echo off surroundings; therefore it is not as exact or precise as vision. Hearing can provide some information, but only about people or objects that are producing sound and as such a feeling of being separate and an increasing sense of isolation can occur because the brain is receiving less stimulation.

An extensive loss of vision can result in:

* an inability to negotiate the environment and a loss of control within it * a loss of sense of freedom
* a loss of security

Hearing loss causes its problems as well with the individual suffering from difficulty hearing information or following conversations. This can cause isolation for somebody and impacts greatly on gathering information and making choices.

People need to have confidence in moving safely around their own homes and immediate local area. The cost and lack of transport will also be an added complication for many people and result in a lack of mobility.

* Impact on Mobility
Designs in homes and buildings can help with an individual finding their way around more easily if they suffer from sensory loss. Good colour contrasting could utilised throughout a building to ensure that individual who have some useful vision can see door frames and cupboard edges for instance. This all helps with navigating around buildings such as the supermarket and enables individuals with sensory loss to retain some independence.

1.2 Analyse how societal attitudes and beliefs impact on individuals with sensory loss

Sensory loss, in any form, can cause individuals to experience the ways in which society treats them differently. Society often dictates that any type of sensory loss also reduces an individual’s capacity to understand and as such there are many things that people do without thinking of the impact on someone with a sensory loss. For example, the parking of...
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