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Eyesight and Hearing


Your eyesight helps you to move around safely and steady on your feet. As you get older your vision can change. You may notice: blurred vision, less accuracy when judging depth or distances, not being able to see as well in low contrast situations, it is taking you longer to adjust to changes in lighting or a reduction in what your eye can see when looking forward.

Changes in your vision can increase the risk of falls.

Look after your eyesight

Have regular eye checks (every two years until you are 60 then every year following), if you wear glasses or contact lenses, look after them and have your prescription checked regularly. 

In the UK, there are almost 2 million people living with sight loss. Of these, around 360,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted.

Being told you have a visual impairment that can't be treated can be difficult to come to terms with.

Some people go through a process similar to bereavement, where they experience a range of emotions including shock, anger, and denial, before eventually coming to accept their condition.

Specialist referral

If you're blind or partially sighted, you may be referred to a specialist low-vision clinic, which is often located within a hospital. Staff at the clinic can help you understand your condition and come to terms with your diagnosis.

They can also advise you about practical things, such as lighting and vision aids, and let you know about further sources of help and support.

Ask your local hospital if they have an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO), whose role involves providing support to people with vision loss in eye clinics.

Support groups

If you're blind or partially sighted, you may find it helpful to contact a support group for people with vision loss.


Hearing problems are more likely as you get older, but people often wait several years before talking to their GP about them. Problems with your hearing can affect your balance and awareness of hazards increasing your risk of tripping or falling over.

If you notice changes in your hearing, contact your GP.

If you do suffer from hearing loss you may be fitted with a hearing aid which can help restore some, if not all, of your hearing. If you are already using a hearing aid ensure it is working properly.

Action on Hearing Loss provides an online Hearing Test if you are worried about your hearing.

Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. It often comes on gradually as you get older, but it can sometimes happen suddenly.

See your GP if you notice any problems with your hearing so you can find out the cause and get advice on treatment.

Signs and symptoms of hearing loss

It's not always easy to tell if you're losing your hearing.

Common signs include:

  • difficulty hearing other people clearly, and misunderstanding what they say, especially in noisy places
  • asking people to repeat themselves
  • listening to music or watching television loudly
  • having to concentrate hard to hear what other people are saying, which can be tiring or stressful

The signs can be slightly different if you only have hearing loss in 1 ear or if a young child has hearing loss.

Read more about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss.