First Voice’s latest Sound Outcomes Report reveals that First Voice Early Intervention programmes provided an average benefit of $497,000 for each child with bilateral hearing loss in the 2018 financial year. These benefits include long and short-term wellbeing, education, economic gains and financial benefits. In August 2018 Auditory Verbal UK became an official international affiliate member of the First Voice network: The listening and spoken language outcomes from our children have contributed to this 2019 data set.

First Voice is a membership organisation in Australia for listening and spoken language early intervention services for children who are deaf. Auditory Verbal UK became the second international member, joining The Hearing House in New Zealand. First Voice plays a leadership role within the early childhood hearing loss sector, advocating for world-class early intervention services for children who are deaf.

The study also revealed that children supported by early intervention develop listening and speaking skills on par with or above that of their hearing peers. It showed that 86% of First Voice graduates with hearing loss alone had speech and language skills within or above the normal range, just above the 84% of typically hearing children who fall within the same level.1

Key results from the Sound Outcomes Report:

Graduates from First Voice Early Intervention programs have the same capabilities with spoken language as children with normal hearing.

  • 86% of the graduates who only had hearing loss only are within or above the normal range
  • 84% of typically-hearing children are within or above the normal range
  • 53% of First Voice graduates are within or above the normal range (including those with additional disabilities affecting their communication, those who spoke a language other than English, or who were late diagnosed or treated)

First Voice centres supported 1,433 children in 2018. Of these:

  • 79% of the children had hearing loss in both ears, and 21% unilateral hearing loss
  • 32% required cochlear implants, with the majority of the rest using hearing aids. 18% had already been diagnosed with an additional disability that impacts their communication
  • 32% of the children spoke a language other than English as their primary language

The research is one of the largest datasets globally for children with hearing loss, which involved 1,433 children and their families supported by First Voice organisations in 2018 across Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

First Voice member organisations continue life-changing programmes for children and young people with hearing loss, visit

Read the Sound Outcomes Summary Report here.


  1. First Voice Sound Outcomes: First Voice 2018 Spoken Language data. Available here: