New research released by charity Auditory Verbal UK ahead of Deaf Awareness Week (May 2nd to 7th), reveals the knowledge gap of what deaf children can achieve. The research shows that only 2 in 5 (41%) UK adults believe a child born profoundly deaf can learn to speak as well as a child without hearing loss*. 



But with early and effective support, deaf children, like Callum, can learn to speak as well as their hearing peers and have the same opportunities in life.  

Callum was diagnosed deaf as a baby and fitted with hearing aids at two months. His family started on AVUK’s Auditory Verbal therapy programme when Callum was eight months old and spent three years working with Auditory Verbal therapists, where his parents were supported and coached in strategies to stimulate Callum’s listening and spoken language. When he started school, his language skills were the same as his hearing classmates. Callum enjoys science lessons and loves playing and chatting with his younger sister, Daniella. His favourite pastime is reading anything from Beano comics to National Geographic books.   

Callum’s Mum Ingrid said: “AVUK has helped us get the best start for Callum and for us as a family that’s more than we could have wished for. It’s meant Callum having the opportunity to learn as any other child.  

“When we learnt that Callum was deaf we didn’t want to believe it but working with AVUK gave us a lifeline. It’s amazing to listen to Callum and his sister having a full-on conversation. We are so grateful to AVUK for making this possible.” 



AVUK is the only charity in the UK providing Auditory Verbal therapy – the transformative family-centred, early intervention programme which supports deaf babies to learn to listen and speak.  They want all deaf children to have access to early and effective support, whether their parents choose to communicate with spoken language, sign language or both.  

Auditory Verbal UK are now calling on people to help them challenge perceptions of what deaf children can achieve by taking a pledge.  

By taking the pledge for Deaf Awareness Week - which highlights hearing loss and challenges the perceptions of deaf people - supporters can raise awareness and understanding of what deaf children can achieve with early and effective support.  

AVUK Chief Executive, Anita Grover, said: “We know that deaf children in the UK currently face the prospect of lower academic achievement, lower employment, and are at higher risk of poor mental health, bullying and social exclusion. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When children, like Callum, and their families have access to effective, early support, deaf children can get an equal start at school and their opportunities are transformed.  This is critically important whether a child uses sign language, spoken language or both. There is not one approach that works for all families of deaf children.” 

“All deaf children should have the same opportunities in life as their hearing peers – and yet results of this survey published for Deaf Awareness Week have exposed the public’s knowledge gap of the different ways that deaf children can communicate and what they can achieve.” 

Auditory Verbal therapy supports deaf children process the sound they get from their hearing technology, like cochlear implants and hearing aids, to develop language so they can learn to talk like their hearing friends. When deaf babies receive hearing technology, the brain needs to learn how to make sense of this sound as they don’t magically work on their own.  

The new public research found that 80% of UK adults believe Auditory Verbal therapy should be available to all deaf children via publicly funded services (ie, the NHS), while only 3% think it should be paid for privately.* 



Auditory Verbal UK wants to see all deaf children have the option to access Auditory Verbal therapy through public funded services. Its #HearUsNow campaign is calling on the Government to make an investment of just over £2 million a year, for the next 10 years, so the UK can provide a sound future for deaf children and unlock economic benefits of £152m, rising to £11.7billion over 50 years. 


* YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2078 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th – 31st March 2023.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).