BENEFITS of technology to deaf children in early years was the topic of conversation as Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall met with a charity in Parliament.

Mr Hall met with the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) to find out more about how radio aids can make a difference in establishing strong communication skills, and how he could help promote funding for them across South Gloucestershire.

Radio aids are designed to help deaf children hear speech by transmitting what people are saying directly to the child’s hearing aid or cochlear implant, above any background noise.

While they are commonly used in schools to help children understand their teacher, they are not currently fully funded and available in South Gloucestershire to children in pre-school.

Government data showing that almost half of deaf children fail to reach the expected level in communication and language in the early years, research by the NDCS has shown that they can make a big difference to deaf children in the early years. 

Mr Hall discussed the issue at length with the charity, and has since gone on to raise the issue with the council’s children adult and health department to see what more can be done to ensure that every child who could benefit from one is given the opportunity access to a radio aid.

He said: “Meeting with deaf children and their families today has really given me a greater understanding about the potential positive benefits that radio aids can have for early year’s children.

“I believe that it is important that this issue is raised with the council to see what more can be done, and if possible to also look into funding these aids, so that deaf children in South Gloucestershire can receive the help they need.”

An SGC spokesman said that they work with the sensory support service to identify any early years children who require access to assistive listening technology, and once a need is identified, there is a significant budget to purchase equipment.

He added that there have been a few requests over the past several months for which all funding has been agreed.