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Support for Deaf Children: South Gloucestershire

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:03 am on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Luke Hall Luke Hall Conservative, Thornbury and Yate 11:03 am, 9th May 2018

I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention and for all the work he does on behalf of people, including children, around South Gloucestershire. He is absolutely right: of course the clinical commissioning group and local NHS services have a role in ensuring that children around South Gloucestershire receive optimal support. He is right to point out that there are clearly ways we can improve in South Gloucestershire following the Ofsted report.

The need for improved access to assistive listening technologies such as radio aids—especially, as my hon. Friend Jack Lopresti pointed out, for pre-school children outside the nursery setting—has come up time and again in my conversations with local parents. Radio aids help deaf children to hear speech and sounds more clearly, as they transmit sound directly to a child’s hearing aid or implant. That can be critical in the early years of a child’s life, when they are at the earliest stage of learning. Radio aids can play an essential role in language development and in improving parent-to-child communication in the home and outside nursery.

We had a fascinating day when the NDCS brought hearing aids here so that we could hear the remarkable difference, in a busy and loud environment, between having that technology and not having it. Such environments often make for difficult listening conditions, and radio aids can prove useful in reducing the effects of background noise and improving the listening experience. Using them in places such as the car, public transport, after-school clubs and the home can make a big difference in a child’s language development and improve their concentration and attention.