Hearing Support

We specialise in the learning and development of deaf and hearing impaired children and young people. We work with children and young people in their nurseries, schools and colleges and with children and parents in their own homes.

Our aim is to enable every child with a hearing impairment to achieve their full potential.

For more information please see our Hearing Support Team Leaflet [PDF, 157Kb]

Education providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that deaf children and young people are not at a substantial disadvantage when compared with their peers (Equality Act 2010).

Read our Reasonable adjustments for deaf children and young people for more information.

Education providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that deaf children and young people are not at a substantial disadvantage when compared with their peers (Equality Act 2010).

The Reasonable Adjustments – Nursery document suggests the most common reasonable adjustments which pre-schools and nurseries can make.

Permanent bilateral (affecting both ears) hearing loss affects 1-4 babies per 1000 births.1 This number is far greater if children with fluctuating conductive hearing loss (resulting from ear infections) and unilateral (one sided) hearing loss are included.

The hearing of most very young babies is routinely screened shortly after birth, usually whilst Mum and baby are still in the hospital, through the Neonatal Hearing Screening Programme. However, a very small number of children slip through this screening process and hearing loss can occasionally remain undetected until the child is older. In addition, sometimes hearing loss isn’t present from birth but can be acquired later and this is especially true of fluctuating conductive hearing loss or ‘glue ear’.

It’s therefore important that parents, carers, childcare providers and school staff are aware of the signs of a possible hearing loss and know what to do if a hearing loss is suspected.

Learning to hear and listen

In order to better understand hearing loss, it is important to understand how a child learns to hear and listen and the communication milestones for their age.

After birth, a newborn baby’s hearing is similar to that of an adult’s, but babies must learn how to use their hearing to form the foundations of communication. They need to hear the sounds of their language repeatedly so they can associate sounds with words. They learn to listen and experience the world by associating sounds to things, whether it’s the sound of  water running at bath time or a soothing lullaby when it’s time for sleep.


One of the earliest and easiest auditory skills to observe in your baby is localisation – the ability to pinpoint the source of a sound. Because we hear through two ears, we can localise sounds with extreme accuracy.

In general, newborns will move or widen their eyes when they hear a loud sound. This is known as the “startle reflex” and many loud sounds should prompt this reaction. When your child is five or six months, you can better observe a true localisation response by making soft sounds behind or beside them while they are looking straight ahead. A soft rattle or a whisper should prompt your baby to turn his or her head toward the sound. It is very important to see how well your baby responds to soft sounds (such as the speech sound “s“).

Speech and language development milestones

  • 9 months – Demonstrates an understanding of simple words such as “mummy“, “daddy“, “no“, “bye-bye“.
  • 10 months – Babbling should sound “speech like,” with single syllables put together (“da-da-dada”). The first recognizable words emerge around this time.
  • 1 year – Speaks one or more words.
  • 18 months – Understands simple phrases, retrieves familiar objects on command (without gestures) and points to body parts. Has a spoken vocabulary of 20 to 50 words and uses short phrases (“no more“, “go out“, “mummy up“).
  • 24 months – Has a spoken vocabulary of at least 150 words, coupled with the emergence of simple two-word sentences. Most speech should be understandable to adults who are not with the child daily.
  • 3 to 5 years – Uses spoken language constantly to express wants, reflect emotions, convey information, and ask questions. A preschooler should understand nearly all that is said. Spoken vocabulary grows from 1,000 to 2,000 words, which are linked in complex and meaningful sentences. All speech sounds should be clear and understandable by the end of this developmental stage.

If you notice that your child is delayed in reaching any of these milestones by approximately three months, we recommend that you have your child’s hearing tested – you can request a hearing test through your family doctor or you can speak to your Health Visitor who may also be able to make a referral.

Always be alert to situations where your child is not responding to sound appropriately, as this may be a sign of hearing loss. Sometimes it is difficult to detect mild forms of hearing loss, including hearing loss in only one ear. It is important to remember that even mild forms of hearing loss can negatively impact a child’s ability to learn through hearing.

The most important sign of possible hearing loss is delayed development of speech and language. The following are other signs that a child may not be hearing normally:

  • Not aware that someone who is out of view is talking, especially when there are few distractions
  • Startled or surprised look when they realize their name has been called regardless of noise level
  • Sitting close to the TV when the volume is sufficient for other family members to hear
  • Increasing the volume of the TV or stereo to unreasonably loud levels
  • Not responding to voices over the telephone and/or switching ears continually
  • Not reacting to intense, loud sounds.

If your child is school aged, with even a mild hearing loss, they may exhibit attention, behavioural or social problems in the classroom.

If you are concerned that your child has a hearing loss, speak to your child’s school or nursery as they may have also noticed some of the same things as you. You can speak to your family doctor to request a hearing test or it may be possible to make a referral through the School Nurse.

If you are a childcare professional or member of school staff and have concerns about a child who may have a hearing loss, speak to the child’s parents or carers in the first instance, they may share your concerns. The child’s parents or carers will need to contact their family doctor to request referral for a hearing test or the school may be able to do this through the School Nursing Service with parental consent.

The Hearing Support Team are available to offer support and advice if your child or a child in your setting is diagnosed with a hearing loss.

Information for professionals – further information on recognising the signs of hearing loss (aimed at professionals working in early year settings and primary schools).

We have an open referral policy and accept referrals from parents and carers and from other professionals with parental consent.

Where parental consent is given, the Hearing Support Team becomes involved when a child/young person is identified as having a hearing loss and the decision is made to fit hearing aids.

Babies are often identified as having a hearing loss soon after birth, through the Neo-Natal Hearing Screening Programme.


Older children/young people can be referred to Audiology through their GP or school nurse.


If you suspect that your child has a hearing loss that hasn’t been diagnosed, please do not hesitate to get in touch if you are unsure what to do next.

School Provision for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Children in North Lincolnshire

The majority of children and young people with hearing impairment in North Lincolnshire attend their local mainstream pre-school or nursery, school or college with effective support from the Teacher of the Deaf and/or Specialist Teaching Assistants. The amount of support given varies according to individual need. We use a nationally agreed moderation process and moderation of support is usually reviewed annually in the Summer term. We use the NATSIP (National Sensory Impairment Partnership) Eligibility Framework to help us to decide how much support a child or young person might need.


However, for some children, local mainstream provision may not be their best placement, if they require more intensive periods of support during the school day and/or a sign system due to their degree of deafness, or have additional needs. 

Specialist Provision in North Lincolnshire: 

Westciffe Primary School

The Hearing Impairment Unit at Westcliffe Primary School in Scunthorpe, caters for deaf and hearing impaired children aged between 3 and 11 years of age. The hearing impaired children are very much part of the school. However, the Unit provides support to ensure the children can take a full and active part in the National Curriculum. The Unit consists of two rooms which have a high level of acoustic treatment to provide a good listening environment. In addition, some of the classes are fitted with Sound Field Systems. The unit is staff by a Teacher of the Deaf 4 days per week and two Specialist Teaching Assistants who are based at Westcliffe but also spend a proportion of their time visiting hearing impaired children in other schools. 

The unit staff are qualified in the use of British Sign-Language (up to Level 3 Signature) and are therefore able to offer support to children who require sign-language as an aid to or means of communication.

There is a weekly Signing Group at the School on a Tuesday afternoon, for parents and carers of hearing-impaired children. 


Some children and young people who have a hearing loss and additional needs may attend a local North Lincolnshire Special School: 

St Luke’s Primary School

St Luke’s in Scunthorpe is a special day school for pupils with moderate, severe and profound multiple learning difficulties, aged from 3 – 11 years


St Hugh’s Communication and Interaction Specialist College

St Hugh’s is an outstanding special school for students between the ages of 11 and 19 years, who have a range of learning difficulties, including moderate and severe learning difficulties, autism spectrum disorders, profound and complex needs.


Specialist Provision Outside the North Lincolnshire Boundary: 

Where a child or young person’s needs cannot be met in mainstream or specialist provision within North Lincolnshire there are a number of specialist provisions outside North Lincolnshire which may offer an appropriate alternative 

Doncaster Deaf Trust, Doncaster

Doncaster School for the Deaf caters for deaf children and young people aged 4-19 years of age. The school is managed by Doncaster Deaf Trust and works in partnership with Doncaster Communication Specialist College and Little Learners Day Nursery.


St John’s Catholic School for the Deaf, Boston Spa, North Yorkshire

St John’s Catholic School for the Deaf, Boston Spa, North Yorkshire is a day and boarding school for hearing impaired pupils aged 3 to 19. St John’s is an oral school where pupils are taught by specialist teachers of hearing impaired children. There is great emphasis on supporting the development of pupils’ spoken language as well as reading and writing.


Christopher Pickering Primary School, Hull

Christopher Pickering Primary School in Hull is a larger than average primary school which houses a co-located hearing impaired unit, which is managed by IPaSS (Integrated Physical and Sensory Service).


Sirius Academy West, Hull

The Hearing Impaired Resource base located at Sirius Academy is a Hull City Council, 40 place provision, under the direction of IPaSS

(Integrated Physical and Sensory Service). This is a secondary provision for children aged 11-16. There is also a Post-16 department within the school.


With parents and carers

The ‘CHSWG’ or Children’s Hearing Services Working Group is a group which meets at the Audiology Clinic of Scunthorpe General Hospital. It is made up of parents of hearing impaired children and medical and educational professionals who work within services for hearing impaired children and young people. The aim of the group is through discussion and working together to improve services and outcomes for hearing impaired children and young people.

With children and young people

We are continuing to improve our child-centred practice and believe that the voice of children and young people is key to improving services.

We work with children and young people to understand their own hearing loss and to manage their equipment and have regular conversations with them about this. We use “PUD” (Personal Understanding of Deafness) developed by Rotheram Council and the Ear Foundation to promote independence and self-confidence.


As part of the Annual Review of children and young people with a Statement of Special Educational Need or an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan), hearing impaired children and young people are encouraged and supported to share their views about:

  • Activities that they like to take part in out of school
  • Their hopes and dreams for the future
  • The support that they receive in school – likes/dislikes
  • What is going well at the moment
  • What isn’t going well at the moment
  • Their achievements, things that they are proud of

NDCS is a national charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people. Membership is free to parents of a deaf or hearing impaired child (and to professionals working with a deaf or hearing impaired child) www.ndcs.org.uk

NDCS have a free phone helpline and can provide advice and support on a range of issues including benefits, education, technology, health, social care, discrimination and communication

Call: 0808 800 8880*

Email us: helpline@ndcs.org.uk
Follow link below to see the range of events on offer:


THE BUZZ is NDCS’s exciting new website especially for deaf children and young people. There are two sites – one for children (8 to 11 years old) and one for teenagers (12 to 18 years old).


Information for professionals – further information on recognising the signs of hearing loss (aimed at professionals working in early year settings and primary schools).


Phonak UK – information on hearing loss



The Ear Foundation Nottingham – hearing and communicating in a technological era



Connevans – on line shop for deaf and hard of hearing people



National Deaf Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (North Region) – work with children and young people who have a severe to profound hearing loss or have deaf parents



Sign Language

Courses  in British Sign Language are provided through ‘Signature’ . Follow the link below and enter your postcode or area to find a class near you.



‘Cued Speech’

For information about ‘Cued Speech’ follow the link below:


Young girl demonstrating the use of sign language

Contact Us

Hearing Support Team
Brumby Learning Centre
Grange Lane North

Email: deborah.jayet-laraffe@northlincs.gov.uk

Tel: 01724 407988

Further Information

Last modified: September 9, 2019