Covid-19 and deafblindness

If you are worried about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it will impact you and your family, we are here.

Talk to us

Our specialist team are on hand to take your calls. You can contact us in the following ways:

Tel: 0800 132320
Email: info@deafblind.org.uk
Text: 07950 008870
Text relay: 18001 then 0800 132320
Click here for BSL video relay

We can give you some practical help about how to look after yourself and stay safe, as well as emotional support if you find yourself more isolated than usual. If you would like some more regular contact from us during this period, please let us know.


Covid Vaccine

The NHS will contact you by letter or text message (SMS) when it is your turn to have the Covid vaccine. The text message will come from ‘NHSvaccine’ but if you are not sure whether it is genuine, wait until you receive a letter.

The NHS Covid vaccine is free and you will never be asked for payment or personal identity documents, such as your passport or bills. If you are being asked for these things, it may be a scam. Contact Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.


Face coverings

It is now mandatory that face coverings are worn in public places. There are some exceptions to this rule, which you can read by clicking here.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-safer-travel-guidance-for-passengers#exemptions-face-coverings

If you rely on lipreading and need to communicate with someone who is wearing a mask, then we suggest that you politely ask them to lower their mask so that you can lipread.


 

Interpreters

BSL Health Access is delivering immediate, on demand access to BSL interpreters for communication with Deaf people in health settings free of charge during the current Coronavirus situation.

The NRCPD has stated that one to one interpreters are working at their own discretion and following the published hygiene guidelines.


Guide Dogs

If you have to self-isolate and you have a guide dog, please contact Guide Dogs UK. They can advise on what is in the best interest of you and your dog and will keep in regular contact with you by telephone as your situation changes so they can offer up-to-date advice. You can call Guide Dogs UK on 0800 781 1444.


WhatsApp notifications

If you use WhatsApp messaging service, you can sign up for free Coronavirus information from the Government. To use this free service, simply add 07860 064422 to your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.


Scams

Unfortunately, there are some scams going around and it is important to be vigilant. Things to watch out for are:

  • People selling ‘anti-virus’ kits or other medication that falsely claims to prevent COVID-19
  • Doorstep criminals acting as well meaning volunteers or charity representatives
  • Anyone offering to give you a vaccine in return for payment

If you think that someone has attempted to scam you, please report it to the police immediately.


FAQ’s

Q. How do I wear a face covering with hearing aids or a cochlear implant?

A. Try to get a face covering that has fabric ties or a Velcro fastening at the back of the head, rather than elastic straps that go around your ears.

Alternatively, you could try using a band extender such as:

  • Take a headband or a strip of fabric and sew on two buttons a few inches apart. Wear the headband, with the buttons at the back of your head, and attach the strings or bands of the covering, to the buttons. You should be able to adjust the headband to take any pressure off your ears.
  • Use a large paperclip at the back of your head to connect the face covering’s strings or bands

Always remember to remove your mask careful so not to tug on or pull out your hearing aids.

Q. How do I stop my glasses steaming up while wearing a face covering?

A. Try re-adjusting your face mask so it is tighter at the top, over your nose. Some people find that by putting a bit of washing up liquid or shaving foam on the frames of your glasses stops them steaming up too. You can now also buy special anti-fog wipes.

Q. How can I make things easier for myself when talking to someone who is wearing a face covering?

A. Be prepared to ask people to lower their face covering or to write things down – even if it’s just in a mobile phone. You might want to carry a small notepad and pen around with you in case you need to do this.

Q. What should I expect when I go to my routine appointments?

A. If your routine appointment was cancelled due to Coronavirus, we don’t yet know when it will be rescheduled for. If you do have an appointment but feel uneasy about attending, we suggest you call the clinic for advice.

If you do have to go to your clinic, it is highly likely that things will be a bit different. Social distancing measures will be put into place, there is likely to be fewer people around and staff will be wearing face masks. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after entering the clinic.

Q. How can I communicate from two meters apart when I can’t see or hear well?

A. Try using a personal listening device such as a Minitec. These are available from online retailers.

Q. Where can I get local/extra help/support from?

A. Contact Deafblind UK and we can put you in touch with local organisations and voluntary groups that will be able to support you further if you need it.

Q. How can I be guided by someone and follow social distancing rules?

A. There is no easy way to do this. If the person who is guiding you lives with you, then there is no need to stay two meters apart. If they don’t live with you then discuss the matter with them, how comfortable are you both with the close contact? Have either of you been in contact with anyone else? Products such as Ramble Tag will allow you to keep some distance from each other, but it is unlikely to be 2 meters. If you have no choice but to have close contact with someone then make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before and after the contact and consider wearing face masks.


 

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Open Hand Magazine

Open Hand is our free, quarterly magazine containing articles and information that are tailored specifically to people with dual sensory loss.

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