Childhood deafness

  • One to two of every 1,000 children born in the UK has hearing loss and around half of these children will be severely to profoundly deaf (NICE, 2009).
  • By the age of three and a half, the human brain has completed 85% of its physical growth, making the first three years of life the most important years for developing spoken language through listening (Suskind & Suskind, 2015).
  • There are currently around 7,200 children with severe to profound hearing loss in the UK under the age of five (based on the rate of permanent hearing loss identified through the Newborn Hearing Screening Programme and the number of births in the UK per year)
  • Around 92% of deaf children are born to hearing parents (Mitchell & Karchmer, 2004; Cole & Flexer, 2015)
  • Amplification alone does not allow for optimal spoken language development (Wilkins & Ertmer, 2002).
  • In 2017, 34% of deaf children were recorded as having achieved a “good level of development” in the early years, compared to 76% of children with no identified Special Educational Needs (SEN).
  • It remains of concern that around two thirds of deaf children arrive at primary school having not achieved a good level of development in the early years (NDCS, 2018).
  • In 2017, 61% of deaf children are leaving primary school having failed to achieve the expected standard at reading, writing and mathematics compared to 30% of children with no identified SEN (NDCS, 2018).
  • On average, deaf children underachieve by over a whole grade per subject compared to children with no identified SEN at GCSE (NDCS, 2018). This gap has widened since 2016.
  • A new Progress 8 measure was introduced in the UK to compare what progress children have made between the end of primary and secondary school compared to other children of the same prior ability. Figures show that deaf children are not ‘catching up’ from their lower starting points as they move through secondary school (NDCS, 2018).

Our impact

  • Auditory Verbal therapy is a parent coaching programme that equips parents with the skills to maximise their child’s spoken language development.
  • By stimulating auditory brain development, Auditory Verbal therapy enables deaf children with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants to make sense of the sound relayed by their devices.
  • Advancing hearing technology, along with ever more inclusive candidacy criteria for implantable hearing technologies, has meant that Auditory Verbal UK has been able to deliver effective early intervention to over a thousand deaf babies and children from birth to school age.
  • Auditory Verbal therapy has demonstrable outcomes regarding spoken language and educational outcomes (Hogan et al., 2008; Hogan, 2016, First Voice, 2015).
  • Approximately 80% of children who graduate from AVUK’s Auditory Verbal therapy programme achieve language appropriate for their age and most attend mainstream school (Hogan, Stokes, White, Tyszkiewicz & Woolgar, 2008; Kaipa & Danser, 2016).
  • In our recent survey of Key Stage 1 (Primary School) attainment , the results of which were presented to the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf conference 2017 “Positive Futures for Deaf Children”, 85% of AVUK graduates achieved or exceeded the national standard for Reading at Key Stage 1; 77% achieved or exceeded the national standard for Writing; and 87% achieved or exceeded the national standard for Mathematics. Presentation available here