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We use the term ‘deaf’ to refer to all types of hearing loss from mild to profound. This includes deafness in one ear or temporary hearing loss such as glue ear.

Read more on childhood deafness on the National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) website.

How is deafness diagnosed?

At birth, all babies are screened for their hearing. The first test is an Otoacoustic Emissions test (OAE). If a baby does not respond to this test, they may have an Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) test. This will be done in an audiology clinic.

Your baby will see an Audiologist and an Audio Vestibular Consultant who will consider the diagnosis and the options to follow. They may be fitted with hearing aids.

A Teacher of the Deaf may be referred to help you and your baby. This includes support in using amplification equipment, understanding the diagnosis and helping your baby’s communication development.

See the My baby has a hearing loss pages on the NDCS website.

Worried about your child's hearing?

If you’re worried about your child’s hearing, talk to your GP or health visitor, who can make a referral to an audiology clinic.

If there is hearing loss, the audiology department will refer your child to the local hearing impairment team. This is called ‘SENDsuccess’ in Waltham Forest.

A Teacher of the Deaf may visit your child to offer support and advice to you, teachers and school staff about what will help. This could be advice about the diagnosis, classroom strategies or supporting your child in understanding their hearing needs.

What happens after the diagnosis?

If your baby/child is fitted with hearing aids, the SENDsuccess hearing impairment team will contact you to discuss the diagnosis.

A Teacher of the Deaf will also contact you to talk about their role. They’ll discuss any concerns you have around education, access, social opportunities or early language and communication. It's also an idea to meet other families and children with hearing loss.

Your child will need to continue to attend regular appointments in the audiology clinic, to monitor and continue to share information about their hearing.

Where to get support

There are a number of organisations that can offer help and advice.

  • FORESTERS North East London Deaf Children Society is a charity which was set up in 2016 to support deaf children and their families in Waltham Forest and Redbridge.
  • National Deaf Children’s Society - NDCS is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and young people.
  • North London Deaf Children’s Society - NLDCS supports families by sharing experiences and knowledge, and runs events and activities for deaf children.
  • Cochlear Implanted Children’s Support - CICS is the only national voluntary body which helps profoundly deaf children with cochlear implants and their families.
  • Remark is a Deaf-led charity which was set up in 1999. It runs projects for Deaf children including play schemes and youth clubs.
  • NGT Lite is an app you can use to call anyone. You can type your message or speak (or have an operator type the message for you).
  • Access to Work is a Government scheme that you can apply to for support at work (i.e. note taker, BSL interpreter, lip speaker, listening equipment etc.