Frequently Asked Questions
Note to screen reader users: you can navigate between the following questions by headings.
What is DeafBlind?
DeafBlind simply means a person has self identified themselves as having both a vision and hearing loss substantial enough to make everyday activities challenging.
Are the majority of individuals who are DeafBlind totally blind and totally deaf?
No, a very small percentage of individuals are actually totally deaf and blind. Most see or hear to some degree.
What are the most common causes of DeafBlind?
Usher and CHARGE Syndromes. Usher is a combination of Retinitis pigmentosa and hearing loss. CHARGE is a combination of multiple disabilities ranging from vision, hearing, kidneys, heart and nasal.
Can DeafBlind live alone?
Yes. Many DeafBlind live normal active lives just like anyone else. With the proper training, alternative methods, and support, DeafBlind can do just about anything they want to do.
Is DeafBlind contagious?
Believe it or not, some do believe this, but I assure you, it is not. In some cases though, it is hereditary.
Is Braille hard to learn?
Braille is like any other language. It takes time and effort. There are two phases of learning Braille. You learn the combinations of six dots which form the letters, and you practice using your fingers to feel the Braille. Sensitivity or sense of touch needs to develop just like anything else.
Are DeafBlind individuals to be pitied or thought of as extraordinary?
Not at all! DeafBlind are just like anyone else! We all have special gifts and abilities and it’s up to us to develop them.
If I see a DeafBlind person, should I try to help?
Treat DeafBlind just like you’d treat anyone else. If you want to help, just ask them if they want help. They will let you know. Please don’t take offense if they say no though. Sometimes it is less confusing if the DeafBlind does whatever it is on their own rather than trying to explain to another person how to help. For more information on what to do when you meet someone who is DeafBlind, check out our article on “Tips for Interacting with Individuals Who Are DeafBlind”.
Is American Sign Language the same as written English?
No, not at all! American Sign Language is its own language different from spoken English. In some cases, short simple English can be written back and forth but it is best to have an interpreter or someone who knows ASL. It would be the same if a person spoke Spanish and not English. Same difference.
Is Sign Language hard?
What’s hard for some folks isn’t considered hard for others. Like Braille, it depends on how dedicated you are to learning it. It takes about two semesters and a lot of continual practice.
Can DeafBlind use technology?
Yes, technology has been a definite plus for DeafBlind with all its improvements! Many Bluetooth devices can connected to Braille displays or hearing aids to enable the DeafBlind to text, email, and surf the internet just like anyone else.