search Menu

Deaf inclusion

One in seven people have a degree of hearing loss in the UK, including over 50,000 children and young people. For many, communication in environments with background noise, or barriers to lip reading and spoken communication (masks, screens, distance affecting lip reading etc) can be extremely challenging.

For a child with reduced hearing levels, progress with the development of spoken language can also be affected.

Types of hearing loss in children and young people

Many children may experience a period of ‘glue ear’ perhaps related to colds and general congestion that may sort itself out, but it may require some management to help it to resolve more quickly.

Very rarely some children or young people may experience normal hearing in their early years but go on to gradually lose some hearing (this is sometimes linked to a family pattern).

On some occasions hearing is impacted by a serious illness such as Measles or Meningitis (or impacted by the essential treatments required).

How to help communication with someone with hearing loss

Imagine how you would feel if one day everyone appeared to be ‘on mute’- how would you want people to support you?

Hopefully they would slow down a little, ensure you had access to a clear lip pattern, provide something for you to read to support you, give you time to ask questions, not speak with their mouth full, and ask you what you find helpful.

And finally, there are many role models out there for deaf children and young people. Since deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis and her Partner Giovanni Pernice won Strictly Come Dancing, there has been an enormous increase in people starting to learn British Sign Language.

Hearing loss is defined as a hidden disability. So whatever you and your family’s experience of hearing loss might be, be aware that Strictly champion Rose might need to lip read you, just as your shop assistant, or nursery worker might. Be aware of heroes wearing hearing aids and/or using British Sign Language to communicate and what deaf inclusion might mean to them.

Always talk to your GP or Health Visitor if you have any persistent concerns about your child’s hearing.

Find out more

Visit the NHS website to read more about symptoms and treatment.

RNID - National hearing loss charity

National Deaf Children’s Society

British Deaf Association

National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) are sharing the stories of children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Search #MyDeafStory on social media to find out more. Visit Twitter to see #MyDeafStory posts 

About the author

Louise Dix is an Advanced Speech and Language Therapist