Hearing loss

Sensory, physical and Medical – Hearing Loss

Definition of the need

Hearing loss ranges from a mild hearing loss to profound deafness. It can be unilateral (in one ear only) or bilateral (both ears). It can be conductive, sensori-neural or mixed.

Many young children experience temporary conductive hearing loss caused by ‘glue ear’. Permanent childhood hearing loss is rare. The causes of hearing loss or impairment vary per child.

For further information on hearing loss, please follow the link to https://www.ndcs.org.uk/information-and-support/childhood-deafness/what-is-deafness/.

Hearing impaired pupils cover the whole range of ability. Hearing loss “is not a learning disability” and a pupil with hearing loss has “the potential to attain and achieve the same as any other pupil given the right support and access to the curriculum.” (Supporting the achievement of deaf children in primary schools – NDCS)

Within North Yorkshire, the majority of children with deafness communicate using spoken language whilst there are some deaf children whose first language is British Sign language (BSL).

There are also some children who use a combination eg. spoken English and sign support (using Makaton or signs from BSL).

How to identify need

The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme will aim to identify whether a newborn baby has hearing loss. After follow up appointments with the health service, this may result in a diagnosis of a hearing loss. The child usually enters the setting or school with the necessary support in place.

However, some children and young people do experience hearing loss. This can be gradual or sudden. They might not be able to communicate this to parents because they do not have the language to describe what they are experiencing.

The following can be indicators of a hearing loss: 

  • Changes in behaviour for example becoming withdrawn or frustrated.
  • Red ears in babies and/or pulling at their ears.
  • Delayed speech, vocabulary and communication development.
  • Mishearing and mispronouncing words.
  • Not hearing what's going on if there's background noise.
  • Not responding when called.
  • Problems with concentrating, tiredness and frustration that affects their behaviour.
  • Difficulties with reading and learning.
  • Wanting the volume of the TV higher than other members of the family. 

This list is not exhaustive and there could be other traits/signs of hearing loss. All children are unique and their needs individualised. Therefore, it is important if you notice behaviour that is seems to be out of the ordinary for the child, please list what signs you are observing in the child and discuss with parents.

Links to resources/ideas for assessment

If there are signs that would indicate the child or young person might be experiencing hearing loss, the following sources of information below can be helpful for parents and schools/settings to use. 

Does my child have a hearing loss? https://www.ndcs.org.uk/information-and-support/childhood-deafness/does-my-child-have-a-hearing-loss/

What are the different types of hearing tests my child might have with the Health service? https://www.ndcs.org.uk/information-and-support/childhood-deafness/hearing-tests/

What are the causes of deafness? https://www.ndcs.org.uk/information-and-support/childhood-deafness/causes-of-deafness/

At this stage, talking to a SENCo or designated member of staff within the school or setting about the child’s needs is important. If a school or parent is concerned about a child’s hearing, the parent should take the child to the GP who may refer the child for a hearing test or further investigation. 

How to support in schools/settings

Early Years

Appendix 1 – Supporting a hearing impaired child in an early years setting

Appendix 2 – Help to support a hearing impaired child in an early years setting

Appendix 3 - Tips for listening to young children with a hearing impairment (age birth to five years)



Appendix 4 – Teaching Phonics to deaf children NDCS (pdf file from NDCS)

Appendix 5 - Supporting the achievement of deaf pupils in Primary Schools NDCS 

Appendix 6 – Video clips for Primary School teachers/teacher assistants NDCS supporting achievement ‘Here to Learn’




Appendix 7 – Supporting the achievement of deaf pupils in Secondary Schools NDCS

Appendix 8 – Video clips for Secondary Subjects NDCS – Supporting achievement of deaf pupils



Special Schools

Appendix 9 - Supporting the achievement of deaf children in a special school


Further and Higher Education

Appendix 10 – Supporting the achievement of a deaf young person in further or higher education NDCS


All settings and Schools

Appendix 10.1 – NatSIP guidance on assess, plan, do and review for pupils with a hearing loss

Appendix 11 – Levels of hearing loss (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 12 – Hearing aids and their function (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 13 – Cleaning moulds and trouble shooting hearing aids (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 14 - Supporting a hearing impaired child with a conductive/fluctuating hearing loss (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 15 – Helping a child with Hearing impairments in primary school (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 16 – Supporting a hearing impaired child with a mild hearing loss (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 17 – Supporting a hearing impaired child with a moderate hearing loss (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 18 – Supporting a hearing impaired child with a severe hearing loss (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 19 – Supporting a hearing impaired child with a high frequency hearing loss (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 20 - Supporting the achievement of deaf children who use English as an additional language NDCS (EAL)



Appendix 21– The use of Radio Aids (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 22 – Adjustments to support Lip reading (NYCC leaflet)

Appendix 23 – Acoustics in a classroom (NDCS leaflet)

Appendix 24 – Creating Good Listening conditions (for Headteachers) (NDCS leaflet)  


Referral to service

Once the child or young person has been screened and diagnosed for hearing loss/impairment, they will need support to ensure they can access the curriculum and learn within the classroom.

When a child is to be fitted with hearing aids, a referral, with parental consent, should be made to the Inclusive Education Service (IES) – Sensory, Physical & Medical Team (Hearing). The referral will usually come from the Paediatric Audiologists but may also come from the setting, school or parents. Request for Involvement form can be found on the CYPS website at http://cyps.northyorks.gov.uk/special-educational-needs-disabilities on the IES landing page.  The guidance for a RFI is on page 22 on the appendix I: SPA Frequently Asked Questions (in the SEND: Inclusive Education Service Core and Extended Offer).

We use the NYCC Eligibility Criteria to determine the level of involvement.

How can the Hearing Impairment (HI) team support the child or young person in schools or settings?  

In NYCC as part of the Inclusive Education Service, we have a small team of specialist teachers, qualified to support children who have a diagnosis of a hearing loss who have been prescribed with hearing aids.  The Hearing Support Team is part of the Sensory Physical & Medical Service. The Service aims to:

  • Offer support and advice to children and young people aged 0 – 25 with a diagnosed hearing loss and fitted with hearing aid/s at home, in a setting, in school or in further education.
  • We may work with other teams within the Inclusive Education Service, to provide specialist advice for children with hearing loss who have additional SEND.

Support offered to CYP can include:

  • Visiting Early Years children at home and/or in a setting
  • Individual support to CYP in schools and colleges
  • Support and advice to parents, settings, schools and colleges
  • Delivery of bespoke interventions and programmes
  • Multi-agency liaison with other professionals e.g. Audiology, Speech & Language Therapists, Social Care.
  • Provision and maintenance of specialist equipment in home, settings, school & colleges
  • Training to staff in settings, school and colleges e.g. Deaf awareness, Language development, physical environment etc.

The type and level of support offered to the CYP varies depending on a range of factors e.g.:-

  • level of hearing loss,
  • the stage of the development
  • the level of language
  • the knowledge and understanding of parents/staff supporting the CYP

Additional support

The following organisations work to support children and young people with a hearing loss:

If you believe that there is information that should be amended or added to this webpage, please contact the Inclusive Education Service.


Page last updated: May 2019