Social Workers and other professionals have been in place for over 25 years working with people with sensory loss.  Our Service Users fall in four general groups: Deaf BSL users; Visual Impairment; Deaf Blind; Equipment for Hard of Hearing– hearing aid users.

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Referrals can be made by contacting the Customer Service Centre on 0344 800 8020 or by email


Deaf BSL users find it difficult to access our service as they are unable to directly access the Customer Service Centre due to their inability to make phone calls.  In general, their understanding of English is limited as English is not their first language.  This reduces their ability to use the internet as the website uses a level of English too complex for them to process, again limiting their access capabilities.

The Social Worker for the Deaf and the Assistant Practitioners in SSU have a level of sign language that allows them to communicate directly with the Deaf person.  This means that an Interpreter is not required for an assessment thereby reducing the costs to the Department and reducing the stress for the person being assessed.


Visual Impairment (VI) referrals for VI Registration are either received directly from the various hospitals in the region or as a result of a person moving into the county who has already been registered by a previous local authority.  The Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) can only be issued by a Consultant Ophthalmologist and the registration can only be added by SSU.

Rehabilitation for people with a sight loss is undertaken by a specialist team within SSU.  The VI Rehab Team work with people who are experiencing difficulty in their daily lives as a result of their sight loss.  A person does not have to be registered to access this service.  Their sight loss has to be significant and permanent and cannot be corrected with spectacles.

  • Work with the individual to improve their daily living skills, preventing and reducing risk for example, making a hot drink safely without scalding.
  • Support with cooking to enable the individual to prepare a meal safely and effectively, thereby maximising their independence and ensuring that they maintain a healthy diet.
  • Mobility training can be offered if required to enable the person to continue accessing their community. The Rehab Workers may teach the individual skills such as using a mobility aid, for example a symbol cane or long cane.  This may increase the person’s confidence and independence reducing isolation.
  • Carry out environmental assessments of the home to reduce risk and maximise independence.
  • Furthermore, VI Rehab Workers can support with reducing disorientation within the home to regain confidence and independence.
  • Communication – use of alternative formats
  • Low vision/lighting


DeafBlind there is a Communicator Guide Service available for people who have a Dual Sensory Loss.  The aim of the service is to preserve the individual’s autonomy and independence, we will work with the individual until aims are achieved.  A Communicator Guide (CG) can provide emotional support and help overcome DeafBlind barriers. Regular visits from a CG may help to reduce anxiety and boost low moods leading to an improvement in the person’s wellbeing.  CGs work with the individual to improve access to the community, for example, medical appointments and banks to ensure that information is understood and to reduce the person’s vulnerability.  The Communicator Guide Service is not a shopping service but the individual may use the service to access the community to reduce social isolation.

Equipment for Hard of Hearing This service now offers a clinic at:

West Norfolk Deaf Association, 8 High Street, Downham Market, PE38 9DB – 2nd Monday every month, 10am-1pm

We offer preventative assessments for people who are hard of hearing, some of the equipment offered can help reduce isolation and allow the individual to participate more fully in family life.  For example, provision of a personal loop may allow them to access media such as TV/Radio at a level that is more comfortable for other household members, this may also improve conversations as the individual may be able to hear more clearly.

Hearing aids must have the loop setting turned on by Audiology to allow a personal or room loop to interact and work effectively with the hearing aid.

Equipment offered:

Flashing amplified door bells

Amplified, vibrating alarm clocks

Room loop

Personal loop

Bellman paging system (only available to DeafBlind and Profoundly Deaf BSL users)

Door beacon

Advice on appropriate phones, SSU do not provide telephones.


Referrals can be made by contacting the Customer Service Centre on 0344 800 8020 or by email

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