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Hearing support service

Provides teaching, audiological and advisory support to parents, carers, families, educational settings and other professionals who are working with hearing impaired children and young people in Leicestershire who have an educationally significant permanent hearing loss, or aided conductive loss, from the time of identification up to 18, or 25 if they have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

The Hearing Support Team is part of the Local Authority’s Specialist Teaching Service and is made up of Specialist Teachers who have an additional qualification for teaching hearing impaired children, practitioners with experience of working with hearing impaired children, and an Educational Audiologist, supported by an audiology Technician from the Assistive Technology for Education Support Team (ATFEST).   

Worried about your child’s hearing

If you suspect your child has a hearing loss you can contact your Health Visitor, for a young child, your GP or a school nurse, all of whom will be able to refer for arrange a hearing test. Where a hearing loss outside normal limits is confirmed the child is  referred to the Hearing Support Team, with parental consent, to determine the appropriate level of support and input required. This decision, which may involve further assessment, reflects the degree and type of loss,  drawing on national guidance, professional judgment and  other factors. Support may range from regular weekly visits, to one or two visits a year,  advice only or non-involvement.

How children are referred to the HST

In the UK the hearing of all new-borns is tested shortly/soon after birth and where necessary they undergo additional hearing tests, usually at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, but we also have referrals from Nottingham and other areas. When a permanent hearing loss is confirmed parents/carers will be told about their child’s hearing loss. The hospital then contact the Hearing Support team, who will then make contact with the family as appropriate. Older children may be referred to the Hearing Support Team through a variety of sources such as:

  • GP
  • Ear Nose and Throat Consultants
  • Community Health
  • Public Health Nurses
  • Paediatricians
  • Educational settings

Type of provision offered by the Hearing Support Team

In the early years, families of babies and toddlers who have a significant hearing loss are supported at home and in their childcare settings in order to encourage good hearing aid use and offer opportunities for the child to have a language rich environment to facilitate good linguistic progress.

Families of babies and toddlers with a diagnosed hearing loss  may be supported at home or in a childcare setting. This support will encourage the best use of hearing aids or signing, and the richest use of language around the child to promote the good language development.

In the early years families are offered the opportunity to attend a Family Group offered by the Hearing Support Team where they are able to meet other families who have a child with a hearing loss.

Members of the Hearing Support Team work in partnership with the NHS Audiology Service to assess children’s hearing and listening skills. Members of the Hearing Support Team will monitor the child’s language and educational levels as appropriate for their age and in relation to their hearing loss. This information is then used to advise parents, settings and schools on children’s educational needs, the management of the hearing loss, and how to minimise the impact of this on learning.

In cases where children have a hearing loss which is likely to have a significant impact on their ability to access the curriculum, they may have an SEN Support Plan or an Education Health and Care Plan which is part of Leicestershire’s graduated approach to Special Educational Needs: the Local Offer.

You can speak to someone for independent advice about special educational needs.

Children with an educationally significant hearing loss will have their hearing, linguistic and educational levels monitored throughout their education.

Specialist Teachers for Hearing Impaired Children advise families, educational settings on reasonable adjustments. This may include positioning of the child, teaching strategies, acoustically favourable conditions, and/or assistive devices as appropriate as well as guidance about how best to teach the curriculum to allow children to achieve their full potential.

Depending on a child’s level of need Specialist Teachers for Hearing Impaired children may offer:-

  • Individual support
  • In-class support
  • Monitoring
  • Training for mainstream teachers and support workers
  • Advice to mainstream staff
  • Advice to SEND Panel
  • Advice to Education, Health and care plan assessments and reviews
  • Additional advice and acoustic report from an Educational Audiologist
  • Advice and support to outside agencies

How the Hearing Support Team is organised

Children are supported according to their level of need, including degree of hearing loss, age, if they have any additional difficulties, and  educational setting.

The Specialist Teachers for Hearing Impaired children provide support for children at home, and within their Early years and/or educational setting. The Educational Audiologist and Specialist Teachers for Hearing Impaired children work closely with the NHS Paediatric Audiologists who assess hearing levels and fit hearing aids as appropriate, to monitor listening and support hearing aid/cochlear implant use. The Educational Audiologist offers and fits radio aid systems, gives advice about other assistive devices and provides acoustic reports when requested/where needed.

School Leavers

Whilst still seen by the paediatric audiology team, students aged 14 move onto what is called a young person’s clinic to develop greater independence and facilitating a smooth transition to adult services at the age of 19

The Hearing Support Team works in partnership with other members of the STS as well as with other professionals from education, health and social care where appropriate, to provide coordinated and effective support and advice for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Leicestershire

In particular, its work is supported and enhanced by the Assistive Technology for Education Support Team (ATfest) who amongst other services, provide technical support by the provision of an Audiology Technician who works closely with the Educational Audiologist / NHS Paediatric Audiologists  and is able to maintain and advise on Personal Amplification Systems & Assistive Listening Device (ALD).

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