Deafblindness is sometimes called dual sensory impairment. This is because deafblind people will have both some hearing loss and some sight loss. A person can be born deafblind (called congenital deafblindness) or lose both their hearing and sight in later life. Some people who are born with deafblindness may also have physical and/or learning disabilities. A person who is born deaf who later loses their sight is most likely to be a BSL user. Other deafblind people may be born blind and lose their hearing in later life. These people will use a spoken language and may also use braille for written documents. It is important to remember that many deafblind people may not be totally deaf and totally blind. Professionals should always find out exactly what form of language and/or communication support the person needs. It could be the person needs a Guide/Communicator or has to have written information in braille. The person may have more complex support needs that will need to be addressed.

People who are Deafblind