Introduction to hearing impairment
On this page you will find out about hearing impairment, hearing loss and deafness and what support is available for your child or young adult. As a parent you are always going to be the expert on your child.
Please browse our directory to find out about things to do, childcare and education.
We use the term ‘deaf’ to refer to all levels of hearing impairment in children, including a partial or total loss of hearing. This includes those who may describe themselves as having a ‘hearing loss’, ‘hearing impairment’ or as ‘deaf’, and includes children who have glue ear. Once a diagnosis has been made, it's ok to feel a whole range of emotions including:
What is hearing impairment?
Deafness, hearing impairment or hearing loss happens when one or more parts of the ear are not working effectively. Possible causes include:
- A genetic (inherited) reason; around half the deaf children born in the UK every year are deaf because of genetics.
- Complications during pregnancy.
- Being born prematurely, this can increase the risk of a child being deaf or becoming deaf.
- A head injury or exposure to loud noise can damage the hearing system.
These causes are explained more fully here, however, statistically, the cause of deafness is only truly identified in 40 to 50% of children.
There are also many types of hearing impairment. The National Deaf Childen's Society has much more detailed information on these different types.
How do I get a diagnosis?
If you are concerned about your child’s hearing, we advise that you speak to your GP in the first instance. You can also speak with your health visitor, school nurse or other health professional.
They will refer you to an audiologist who treat people who have problems with their hearing or balance. An audiologist specialises in identifying and diagnosing a range of problems which affect the ears. They will be able to give you more information about:
- the level of your child’s deafness
- the sounds that your child can and cannot hear
- the next steps.
The Children's Audiology department is based at the Derby Royal hospital.
Children do not need a diagnosis of any condition to get support at school. Your child’s school must do it’s best to give your child the support they need. There will be access to a school nurse.
To help you keep a record of your child’s condition, we have created three useful toolkits that you can go through with your child. Simply select pages that you think are relevant to your child. You do not need to fill out every page.
These pages can be taken to your GP or shown to your health visitor as evidence of your concerns. They can be used just to demonstrate how much your child can hear or not hear. We understand that as parents, you meet a lot of people to discuss your child’s needs and often have to repeat information.
Where can I find support?
Derby City Team for hearing impairment is called STePSSTePS. It consists of experienced and qualified staff who deliver a range of services including:
- Providing information advice, support and guidance to parents, families, carers and teachers of babies, children and young people with hearing impairment.
- Individual tuition.
- In class advice and support for CYP, Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Support Workers.
- Audiological Assessment.
For parents of children with a new diagnosis, they have created this Children and young people with hearing impairment leaflet.
To contact the STePS ASD Team, telephone 01332 641400 or email email@example.com.
SENDIASS offers free confidential, impartial advice and support to parents, children and young people up to the age of 25 about Special Education Needs and Disabilities as well as guiding you through the SEND processes and procedures.
To find out more about the support that SENDIASS offers, telephone 01332 641414 or email SENDIASS@derby.gov.uk.
Facebook pages and groups
Here are some helpful Facebook pages and support groups:
Hearing impairment blogs
Here is a selection of hearing impairment blogs:
- British Deaf News is the Deaf community’s leading online news portal, brought to you by the British Deaf Association.
- The Limping Chicken will help you find the most interesting, informative and thought-provoking deaf blogs, news and entertainment on the web.
- Bianca Birdsey has three deaf daughters. Here she sheds light on the journey of a family with deaf or hard of hearing children.
- Find daily insights, observations, challenges, and frustrations faced by families with both hearing and deaf family members from At The Rim.
- Deafie Blogger is a blog about day to day challenges, real life barriers and achievements in a deaf person's world!
- CamTAD Hearing Support is an independent charity, based in Derby at the London Road Community Hospital.
- Deafinitely Girly writes about the funny deaf-related things.
- Meet 24 year old Luke Christian, the deaf lifestyle blogger!
- A collection of deaf blogs by young people
- Deafness Support Network
Let's remember the positives
People with hearing impairments can succeed in life just as well as the hearing community. They achieve as much as their hearing peers academically and then on into a variety of careers.
A lot of parents worry that their children will never learn to drive. For many young people reaching 17 is a mile stone and learning to drive is an exciting time.
Ellie tells us about her experience of learning to drive and how her deafness didn’t stop her.
Celebrities with a hearing impairment
- Halle Berry
- Rob Lowe
- Whoopi Goldberg
- William Shatner
- Jane Lynch
- Bill Clinton
- Holly Hunter
- Robert Redford
- Jodie Foster