Auditory Verbal Therapy: Guide

Abigail Hitchins and Anita Grover | View as single page | Feedback/Impact

Landscape of paediatric 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 (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2019)5.  At primary school age, this increases to over three per 1,000 children with permanent hearing loss (Davis et al., 1997)6.  Estimates of the number of children with severe to profound hearing loss in the UK under the age of five years are between 6,400 (CRIDE, 2017)7 and 7,200 (Clark, 2007)8.

The Consortium for Research into Deaf Education (CRIDE) carries out annual surveys on educational staffing and service provision for deaf children.  The resulting reports estimate the number of deaf children in the UK, the numbers of Teachers of the Deaf and other specialist staff and outline the support provided.

In the UK, the NHS (National Health Service) aims to follow the NICE guidelines8 that state that all newborn babies are screened within 26 days of birth for possible hearing difficulties.  Babies who are identified as having possible hearing difficulties at screening are referred to NHS audiology services.  Those who are identified as hearing-impaired/deaf should receive hearing aids within 2 months.  This initial diagnosis is followed by ongoing support, which includes regular audiological assessment and, where meeting NICE guidelines, consideration of the appropriateness of cochlear implant(s) (usually within the first year).

One challenge of deafness is that it does not always occur in isolation.  Estimates of the prevalence of children with hearing loss and additional needs range from 25-40% of the total population of deaf children (Holden-Pitt & Diaz 19989; Stedler-Brown & Yoshinaga-Itano, 199410; Fortnum, Davis, Butler, Stevens, 199711; Ching & Wong, 201712).  These additional needs can include cognitive, physical, dual sensory, specific speech and language, behavioural and/or emotional problems.  This list is not exhaustive and many children have multiple needs across these categories (Hitchins & Hogan, 2018)3.