Deafblind Life Hacks
Here at Deafblind UK we work hard to ensure that people living with deafblindness get the help and support they need in order to live the lives they want. We know that dual sensory loss is a daily struggle which can be isolating and overwhelming. However, our many years’ experience supporting thousands of members and their families has shown us that sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.
Our Deafblind Life Hacks campaign is all about sharing quick and simple ways to make life easier.
We’re starting off with the following ideas for you to try out today, which have come from both people who are deafblind themselves and from Deafblind UK staff who work with our members in their homes and communities.
We will continue to add more life hacks on Facebook, Instagram and twitter using #DeafblindLifeHacks. To get involved and share some of your own hints and tips, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, message us via our Facebook page or call 0800 132 320.
Work and travel
As our member and trustee, Bob Nolan, is aware, people who are deafblind face many challenges in the workplace. Here are some really helpful tips from Bob which can help you if you have sight and hearing loss, as well as reminding everyone of good practice to ensure clear communication with our colleagues:
Arriving early for meetings will make sure you get the best possible seat to help you. Sit with any windows or bright lights behind you and be close to main speaker to help listening or lip-reading. If you do this early and unobtrusively no one else attending the meeting needs know you are lip-reading, if you prefer them not to. It also prevents you drawing attention by stopping a meeting and asking to swap places.
Encourage good meeting behaviours, such as ensuring there are clear objectives, summing up of key points and that only one person speaks at a time. This approach helps everyone, not just people who are deafblind!
Whether it is for work or leisure, allow more time for travel. If you are deafblind it is likely this it will take you longer to find and get to your airport departure gate or station platform, so allow extra to get there. Remember to always ask for help if you need it, in Bob's experience people are always happy to help. On public transport, ask the conductor or driver to tell you your stop if you don't know the route.
Reading for work, or pleasure, for people who are deafblind is made much easier thanks for technology such as an e-Reader or Kindle. A Kindle with large font helps Bob as he can't read books or newspapers anymore. He also recommends that anyone with vision loss starts by increasing contrasts, larger mouse pointers and a high-vis keyboard. Reverse backgrounds and font colours can also help. For example, Bob finds he can read much more with white or yellow font on a black background.
More Deafblind Life Hacks...
If you enjoy playing card games with your friends and family, but find standard sized cards are too small, have you tried using giant playing cards? These are available from a wide variety of online stores for around £5 per deck of cards.
Using headphones can be a useful way to enjoy music at a volume that suits you. Deafblind trustee and member Roger told us: “Headphones are my salvation when listening to music, smartphone or my electric piano”.
There are a wide range of products available which can help you in the kitchen. We know our members have found these jugs very helpful as the measurements can be read much more easily than standard jugs.
Choose items in bright, contrasting colours to use in your everyday life. Toothbrushes for each member of the family in an easy to spot colour can help pick yours out.
A dog lead in a bright colour can also make life easier when it’s time to go for a walk!
When our outreach staff visit new members, often one of the quickest and easiest ways they can make a difference is to show how these stickers can help around the home. Simply stick a bump sticker to show where a frequently used setting on your washing machine is, or to recognise a button on your TV remote control or central heating system.
"Please be patient"
When you are out and about, our Deafblind UK ID cards can help identify you as someone who is deafblind and let people know how best to communicate with you. You can request one today by calling our Information and Advice Line on 0800 132 320.
And don’t forget…
If you ever have any questions, or just need someone to talk to, call our Information and Advice Line on 0800 132 320 for a chat with our friendly and helpful staff.