Hearing impairment


We work closely with tertiary centres, community paediatrics, audiology and local authority ISEND services, including teachers of the deaf. If a child has milder degrees of hearing loss or glue ear they might need support via the multi-agency language pathway or need to access a speech sound disorder packages.

It is important that children with hearing loss are supported to develop their communication skills as soon as possible following diagnosis. We support by:

  • making sure early years settings are accessible for children with language difficulties as a result of hearing impairment
  • working with a child to improve their communication skills.

In East Sussex there is hearing impairment support available from the following agencies.

The ISEND Sensory Needs Service provides support to children with hearing impairment from birth to 18 years. It provides advice and guidance to parents, educational settings and other professionals supporting children with hearing impairment. This can also involve support around developing a communication system for a child.

Paediatric (Children’s) Audiology provides an integrated screening, diagnostic and rehabilitation service, for babies and children with hearing difficulties. It can provide advice on the type and degree of hearing loss, hearing technology that can support communication development and onward referrals to our service.

What can we do for you?

CITES specialist speech and language therapist for hearing impairment can offer specialist assessment of a child’s communication difficulties that arise as a result of their hearing impairment. The therapist will advise on therapeutic approaches that will work best for the child such as specific listening activities to support the development of communication.

How we work together

We work very closely with our ISEND and health partners to support the communication development of children with hearing impairment. We are able to offer specialist joint training to settings and joint visits to families.

We work closely with cochlear implant tertiary centres to deliver packages of care to families and early years settings.

Most referrals for early years children with severe to profound hearing impairment come directly from audiology or the ISEND Sensory Needs Service.

Early years settings, parents and carers are always welcome to phone our Therapy One Point if they need advice or think a child may need a referral.

Children's Integrated Therapy Service

Speak to the team for
more information.

Case studies

Lowan’s story

Lowan was 18-months-old when we first met him. He had recently been diagnosed with a moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. Lowan was using a few sounds and one word ‘mumma’. He was getting very frustrated at not being able to communicate his needs as his parents described him as a confident, bright and sociable child.

We worked with Lowan, his family and his early years setting to support the development of his signed and spoken communication through modelling and advice sessions. We also carried out 1:1 therapy sessions with Lowan at home and in his early years setting.

We worked closely with ISEND Sensory Needs Service colleagues throughout. Lowan was later fitted with bilateral cochlear implants so we were able to support his listening and communication journey through further joint work with his cochlear implant team.

Lowan is now at primary school. Recent assessment highlights how far he has come with this support as he now has age appropriate speech, language and communication skills.

Working with audiology

We wanted to work differently with the paediatric audiology team to improve the quality of our care for children with hearing impairment.

We were keen for our service to support children as soon as possible following their diagnosis of severe to profound sensorineural hearing loss. In previous years we only became involved when a child was really struggling with their communication development, often much further down the line after diagnosis.

We set about changing our care pathways to include newly diagnosed babies. We now offer a visit to families within at least six months of diagnosis of severe to profound hearing loss. This visit is carried out jointly with the ISEND Sensory Needs Service.

We have strengthened our links and communication with audiology and they now frequently refer directly into our service. We have a more open dialogue and communication about the children we work with. We observed audiology clinics and they also observed us in our work with children, families and settings.

We now attend regular multiagency meetings with audiology, ISEND Sensory Needs Service and paediatricians to discuss and plan ahead for the children we support.

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Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust

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