Gaining insight into dual sensory loss

In this PhD project, cognitive psychologist Esther Veenman examines the relationship between dual sensory loss and the following outcome measures: access to information, communication, mobility and fatigue.


PhD candidate


Novum / Koninklijke Visio



Gaining insight into dual sensory loss

Why are we doing this study?

People with dual sensory loss have both visual and auditory impairments. Associations between visual or auditory impairments and self-reported daily functioning are low. However, when both vision and hearing are impaired, it becomes difficult to compensate the loss of one sense with the other. This can lead to serious difficulties, for example in the areas of information processing, mobility, communication, and fatigue.

In a previous study, it was found that 20-57% of adults with a visual impairment have a hearing impairment as well. Although these are substantial numbers, it is still unknown how the remaining vision and hearing work together and whether there are possibilities for compensation. Both vision and hearing consist of different functions. Vision consist of, for example, visual acuity, visual field and contrast sensitivity. Similarly, hearing consists of sound discrimination, directional hearing and speech understanding. Now, we do not know how different combinations of impairments in these functions are experienced. We also do not know how these different combinations influence information processing, mobility, communication, and fatigue. In addition, no standard screening takes place in visual rehabilitation with regard to the combination of losses in these functions.

What is the aim of the study?

The goal of this project is to find out how the visual and auditory functions work together and to establish risk profiles in the areas of information processing, mobility, communication, and fatigue. A second goal is to improve diagnostics and treatment for people with dual sensory loss, by means of developing a new intake, screening and diagnostic strategies.

How do we conduct this study?

1) systematic review of existing literature; 2) qualitative study, in which interviews are conducted among 20 adults with dual sensory loss. The goal is to examine how people experience the influence of dual sensory loss on daily functioning; 3) simulation study, in which dual sensory loss will be simulated in 25 adults with normal vision and hearing; 4) quantitative study, in which risk profiles are established for impaired information processing, communication, energy balance and mobility of clients with a (dual) sensory loss (N=250) compared to controls (N=50); 5) implementation study, in which the barriers and facilitators of the new diagnostic model are investigated among clients and professionals.


Prof.dr. Ruth van Nispen, Dr. Ton Roelofs (Koninklijke Visio)