Deafblind figures for East Sussex

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FIGURES have been released showing there are 119 known suffers of deafblindness in East Sussex.

Deafblind UK called the double afflication ‘the loneliest condition in the world’ and the charity knows of four sufferers in Seaford and Newhaven, and four people with the issue in Hailsham, Polegate, Heathfield and Pevensey – not counting surrounding villages.

Nationwide there are 250,000 people who live with the daily challenge of having a combined vision and hearing loss. This figure is set to rise to 569,000 by 2030, according to research carried out by Sense, a national charity that provides support to deafblind people.

David Rowan, deafblind support worker for East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre, said deafblindness was one of the most challenging disabilities that a person can endure.

He said: “Most of us have at some time in our lives been asked, “Which would you rather be – deaf or blind?” But how many of us could imagine being both. Can you imagine how you would do simple everyday tasks, for example, how would you make a drink or cook a meal? How would you know what time of day it is? And most importantly, how would you communicate?”

Deafblind people often feel trapped by barriers to communication and as their condition deteriorates, people lose confidence and then become withdrawn, isolated, depressed and totally dependent on others, Mr Rowan said.

He added: “ Without the appropriate support, life for someone who has lost, or is losing, both their sight and hearing can be a very lonely, confusing and potentially dangerous place.”

Help is at hand via East Sussex Hearing Resource Centre which is a local independent registered charity with the key aim of improving the lives of deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind people, thus improving their quality of life and enabling them to become more active and independent within the local community

Advice, information and practical solutions is provided for everyday challenges faced by people with a hearing loss or a dual sensory loss.

For more information about the services phone 01323 722505, or email: mail@eshrc.org.uk or log onto www.eshrc.org.uk