Q & A

Frequently Asked Questions

What do we mean by the “DeafBlind” community?

The DeafBlind community includes:

  • Deaf-blind individuals
  • Professional and volunteer interpreters (deaf and hearing)
  • Other professionals involved with deaf-blindness
  • Family members of deaf-blind people
  • Many other friends

A deaf-blind person cannot see or hear at all, right?

Many deaf-blind people have some useable vision, some usable hearing, or both. A “deaf-blind” person may be:

  • Totally blind and totally deaf
  • Totally blind and hard of hearing
  • “Hard of seeing” and totally deaf
  • “Hard of seeing” and hard of hearing

Most deaf-blind people also experience change in their degree of vision and/or hearing over time. Many people have Usher syndrome (hearing loss with Retinitis Pigmentosa), which results in a degenerative loss of vision over many years.

What do deaf-blind people do for work?

Most of the deaf-blind people in Seattle are employed full-time. Some deaf-blind people are employed at public utilities, with state government, at private companies, and as service providers at agencies that serve deaf and deaf-blind individuals. A large number of deaf-blind people work at Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind. At the present time, the need for additional, more diverse job opportunities is great.

What about housing? Can deaf-blind people live independently?

The majority of deaf-blind individuals in the Seattle area live independently. Many live alone, some live with spouses or roommates.

What do deaf-blind people do for fun?

Everything! In addition to personal sports and hobbies, there are community social and recreational activities conducted for and by deaf-blind people. Some of these include:

  • Banquets
  • Dances
  • Picnics
  • Business meetings of Washington State Deaf-Blind Citizens (WSDBC)
  • Special social and support groups for segments of the DeafBlind community

The Lighthouse for the Blind sponsors an annual weeklong Deaf-Blind Retreat in Seabeck, WA and the Deaf-Blind Community Classes twice a month during the school year.