Report shows cost effectiveness of intervention for young deaf children in the UK, enabling them to get an equal start at school.  

This year’s World Hearing Day, organised by the World Health Organization, aims to draw attention to the economic impact of hearing loss and cost effectiveness of intervention.

Award-winning national charity, Auditory Verbal UK, delivers an evidence-based early intervention programme, which helps deaf children learn to listen and talk without the need for lip reading and sign language. Eighty percent of children who graduate from Auditory Verbal UK’s programme achieve age-appropriate language and most attend mainstream schools.

A recent cost benefit analysis, using the HM Treasury model and robust evidence, shows that for every £1 invested in the programme, there is a £4 return.

Speaking about the impact of Auditory Verbal UK’s programme on their family’s life, Chris and Claire Campbell, from Surrey, have said:

We discovered that our daughter, Alice, was profoundly deaf when at 18 months old, she wasn’t making the same developmental milestones as her older brother, Joseph. It was devastating, finding out that Alice was deaf to the extent that it would probably have a life-long impact on her. We suddenly realised that every time we held Alice close to us or even talked to her before she was born, she hadn’t heard us.

With no experience of hearing loss in the family and with little knowledge of deafness, Chris and Claire explored many options and eventually opted for cochlear implants and a programme of auditory verbal therapy at Auditory Verbal UK. When their youngest son Oliver was also born deaf they opted for the same path, so that both children could develop the same listening, talking and social skills as their hearing peers.

Both siblings are at mainstream school, have lots of friends and have a bright future ahead.

Whatever it is that Alice and Oliver were born to do on this earth, the fact that they are deaf will             never be a limiting factor in that.

Despite this, far too many deaf children are still missing out on vital support in their early years. The first three and a half years of life are critical for the development of listening and talking and moreover the foundations of literacy and numeracy. With effective early intervention, deaf children can achieve on a par with their hearing peers.

Speaking about the work of Auditory Verbal UK, CEO Anita Grover, who had successful Cochlear Implant surgery in 2006, says:

Having lost my hearing progressively from childhood, I have seen first-hand the barriers that deaf people can face and I am determined that young deaf children should have the same opportunities in life as hearing children. Deaf children are still under-achieving at school, at higher risk of isolation, bullying and social exclusion and have lower employment prospects. Our programme is cost effective and is enabling deaf children to get an equal start at school.

Millions of people worldwide who have had their lives effected by hearing loss will be celebrating World Hearing Day this Friday 3 March.

ENDS

Notes to editors available here