Experiences of people with dual sensory loss in various areas of life: A qualitative study

E. Veenman, A. A.J. Roelofs, M. L. Stolwijk, A. M. Bootsma, R. M.A. van Nispen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Individuals with dual sensory loss (DSL) appear to have limited ability to compensate for their visual impairment with residual hearing, or for their hearing impairment with residual vision, resulting in challenges in various areas of life. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore the diverse experiences facing individuals with DSL as well as to determine how they experience sensory compensation. Semi-structured interviews were carried out in twenty adults with DSL (13 females and 7 males, mean age 47 years). The causes of DSL severity varied amongst participants. Sensory compensation and experiences in regards to access to information, mobility, communication and fatigue were discussed. Interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Framework analysis was used to summarize and interpret the data. In relation to access to information, our results show that, despite various challenges, the use of assistive technology such as voice command functions, enabled participants to operate effectively. Regarding mobility, most participants were capable of finding their way in familiar environments. However, if the setting was unfamiliar, assistance from others or reliance on navigation applications was necessary. Participants experienced little issues with having conversations in quiet settings, however, crowded settings were considered very difficult. The final results showed that most participants suffered from fatigue. Carefully considering which daily activities were feasible and having a daily routine helped to cope with fatigue. This study revealed the experiences of individuals with DSL in important areas of life. The results suggest that, even though many challenges are experienced, individuals with DSL are resourceful in finding compensation strategies. However, capturing participants’ sensory compensation experiences was challenging.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0272890
Issue number9 September
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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