Many older people who can neither see or hear are missing out on "vital support" a charity has warned.

Sense, the charity for people who are both deaf and blind, warned that the lack of support could lead to people feeling lonely and depressed.

New research, conducted by both the charity and the University of Birmingham, found that not one of the 88 deaf and blind care home residents surveyed were aware of specialist services which offer support for people affected by both conditions - instead they sought help from services solely dedicated to either hearing or sight loss.

They also found that some care home staff are unaware that the people they look after have hearing or sight problems. And "very few" had received training in this area, the researchers said.

The charity estimates that there are 220,000 people across the UK with both sight and hearing loss.

Sense deputy chief executive, Richard Kramer, said: "Many hearing and sight problems develop gradually as people age, so there is a common view that this is a normal, inevitable part of life and that nothing can be done about it.

"We fear because of this many people are missing out on vital help and support, often leading to loneliness and isolation.

"There is support and services available to help older people and their families deal with sight and hearing difficulties and make informed choices about how they wish to live.

"Local authorities have a duty of care towards older people with both sight and hearing difficulties and should invest in services that can guide older people to live independently and enjoy life rather than leaving them isolated in their own homes."