Testing the hearing and sight of those who are deafblind comes with several unique problems. Due to sensory impairment, in many cases communication problems occur with the deafblind person having difficulty understanding the tests and responding in the correct way. In other cases the person may lack the necessary skills to respond appropriately. As many audiologists and opticians aren’t trained to deal with those who have dual sensory impairments they may carry out inappropriate tests or misinterpret the results. Similarly the conditions under which testing occurs might not be adequate for a deafblind person. For example if the lighting is wrong, this can make the testing much more difficult.
In order to make the testing easier it may be worth searching for an audiologist or optician who can take into account any specific needs which the deafblind person may have. For instance they can give extra time and allow the person to respond with alternative communication methods if needed. It’s important to let your optician or audiologist know of any special requirements, such as longer appointment times, in advance of your visit. It may also be useful for someone the deafblind person is comfortable with to accompany them in order to make sure they understand what is happening. Similarly, if an interpreter is required this should also be arranged a few weeks in advance of the appointment. It’s very important that the deafblind person has a sound understanding of the tests that will be used. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask their optician or audiologist about the tests or any problem areas which are concerning them. In many cases the testing conditions will need to be altered in order to accommodate the deafblind person. A lot of deafblind people have problems seeing in dim lighting so they may need the lights left on during testing. If charts used in the distance vision tests produce glare when illuminated then alternative, printed charts may have to be used.