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Hearing loss

There are many young people and adults in Scouting who experience a loss of hearing. The term hearing loss describes a range of conditions from deafness to slight hearing impariments. The below gives more information into hearing loss and how to support Scouts.

What is hearing loss?

Hearing loss may vary from flight or fluctuating hearing loss to total loss of hearing (deafness). There are two major types of hearing loss although sometimes both types occur together.

• The most common is conductive hearing loss that may occur through a blockage of the ear canal, damage to the eardrum, or blockage or damage to the middle ear.  The condition is often intermittent and varies in severity. It usually responds well to treatment.
• The other type is sensory-neural hearing loss. It may arise though damage to the cochlea (inner ear), auditory nerve or to parts of the brain involved in interpreting sound.  It has a number of causes such as damage before or at birth or a condition such as Cerebral Palsy, or may be inherited.

Some people with hearing loss wear a hearing aid.  For some it may be an uncomfortable experience and sounds heard can be distorted and unpleasant to listen to.  Hearing aids do not discriminate but amplify all the sounds in the area, and not solely the sound that the listener wishes to hear.

If a young person has not learnt to speak before any hearing loss occurs, they may encounter language difficulties as they have not heard the sounds, which they wish to make.  This can make understanding their speech difficult.

Practical tips for supporting Scouts with hearing loss

Discuss with the individual and/or their parents the extent to which help is needed and learn any practical tips they have to offer.  They may be able to arrange for you to have a chat with their teacher or other support worker from school if it is felt to be helpful. Find out what forms of communication are used and if necessary learn some key basic signs. Other tips that may be useful are:

Further support

Deaf Friendly Scouting


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