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Sight and hearing

Sight and hearing are important to our daily lives. Dorset Council support people to remain independent and achieve their goals. There are a variety of groups available to people with sight and hearing loss. If you would like advice, or support regarding sight or hearing loss please contact us or the groups below.

Assessing your needs

Dorset Council work with Millbrook Healthcare to provide our sight and hearing service.

If you feel that you may need some support to remain safe and independent, you can ask us for an assessment. A rehabilitation officer will assess you and support you through any changes as a result of your sight and/or hearing loss. They will offer help and advice on:

  • daily living skills and moving around within your home
  • mobility and safety outside your home
  • communication needs
  • equipment to help you
  • information about support groups
  • benefits advice
  • advice on education, employment and accessing your community

Enquiries and referrals can be made to the service using any of the below methods:

Millbrook Healthcare - Sight and Hearing

Sight and hearing centres

Sight and hearing centres are located across Dorset. They provide an opportunity for you to look at equipment and devices that may help you to remain safe and independent.

Home visiting sight and hearing tests

If you struggle to get out of the house and need a sight test or hearing test in your own home, we have information in our Community Directory.


Advocacy If you need help to express your views and wishes, please contact our advocacy service.

Sight loss

Your sight may have deteriorated gradually as part of a long-term health condition or your sight loss may have happened suddenly. Get advice from an optician as soon as you start to experience changes to your sight, however small.

If you already have sight loss it is even more important to look out for any changes in your hearing. Visit your GP if you have any concerns.

Sight loss registration

You can register as a person with sight loss if you have been referred to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) and they have completed a Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI). This will confirm if you are either severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted). A copy of the CVI will automatically be sent to us and the sight and hearing team will contact you to complete the registration.

Contact us if you have a CVI but have not been registered.

Benefits of registering

Registration could entitle you to a range of concessions including:

  • discounted travel on public transport
  • half price TV licence (if you are registered severely sight impaired)
  • blue badge (if you are registered severely sight impaired)
  • blind person's allowance (if you are registered severely sight impaired)
  • free directory enquiries assistance from BT (if you are unable to read or hold a telephone directory because of your sight loss or other disability)
  • discounts may be available on leisure and activities.

Help and advice

Dorset Blind Association and Bournemouth Blind Society are local organisations that offer advice and support regarding sight loss.

The RNIB has lots of information about sight loss and a free telephone counselling service for people who have lost or are losing their sight. The RNIB also provides information on equipment that may help.

The Macular Society provides a range of information on sight loss, including access to counselling and information on equipment that may help. They also organise local support groups.

The My Guide service run by Guide Dogs is a free service that matches a person living with sight loss to a volunteer. The volunteer is trained in sighted guiding and can help you to leave the house and build up confidence in mobility. Together you will work towards aims of independence, which may be learning the route to your local shop, learning the route to the bus stop and building confidence to use the bus alone. They can even help you to take up a hobby.

The South West Dorset Talking Newspaper provides a weekly dose of local news and a talking magazine, free of charge, to people who are either blind or partially sighted. It serves the Weymouth, Portland, Lyme Regis, Bridport, Dorchester, Sherborne and Blandford areas and has listeners all over Dorset.

Libraries offer audiobooks and e-books

Deafness and Hearing loss

People who are hard of hearing or deaf may use a variety of methods to communicate including British Sign Language. Some people may be born deaf, for others, this can occur suddenly, and for some hearing loss can develop with age as soon as you notice any changes to your hearing you should see your GP.

If you already have hearing loss, it's even more important to look out for signs that your sight is being affected. Visit your GP if you have any concerns and for help and advice.

Action on Hearing Loss provide further information and advice about living with hearing loss.

Wiltshire and Dorset Deaf Association provide a range of information for people who are deaf, or hard of hearing.

The Dorset Deaf Children’s Society provides opportunities for hearing impaired children and their families to meet up and have fun.

Bridport Deaf Club provides a family friendly community for Deaf people, family and friends.

You may find it useful to talk to someone about your hearing loss. NHS Choices has information about the symptoms and treatment of hearing loss.

The NHS also provides services for adults and children who are affected by hearing loss, distressing tinnitus and balance disorders.


Dorset Council has a duty to identify people who are deafblind, to provide an assessment when requested and to ensure that services provided are appropriate to meet their needs.

Contact us if you would like to request an assessment.

Visit your GP if you think your hearing and/or eyesight may be changing. It's important to get advice as soon as possible as treatment for some underlying causes of deafblindness can be more effective if started early.

NHS Choices and DeafblindUK have further information about deafblindness.