Creating a more accessible world for deaf children in Ireland
- Sound Advice
- Country of Implementation
- Western Europe
- First published
“Sound Advice – actively mainstreaming hearing difficulties to the public, with technology as the leveller.” Ms. Caroline Carswell, Founder, Sound Advice
A child's critical period of ‘learning’ to hear runs from a mother’s sixth month of pregnancy to the child’s second birthday, making early diagnosis and intervention vital. Children who are detected with severe hearing loss and who receive digital hearing aids before six months of age and a cochlear implant before one year can develop spoken language skills similar to children with typical hearing. The earlier a baby hears sounds from hearing-devices, the sooner their brain learns to process speech and language tones for communication and print literacy.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Sound Advice launched a successful public education campaign to permit all eligible under-18 children in Ireland to access bilateral paediatric ear implants as part of the state health service, with a far-reaching impact. The ability of children to hear well at age two facilitates their inclusion, participation, and equality in education and work. Sound Advice published a paper in the UK Journal of Inclusive Practice in Further & Higher Education to guide practitioners and employers in good practice. As a result, networks of the deaf and their families in the United Kingdom share information and look to Sound Advice for guidance on such topics as practical work experience and transitioning from graduate study to the workplace. Sound Advice is also mentoring families to advocate for inclusion, participation, and equality for their deaf youngsters.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The Sound Advice website will continue to track and educate stakeholders on new technology and digital tools for children, students, and graduates with hearing difficulties to enable them to fully participate in their everyday learning, study, and working environments. Wireless connectivity provides important opportunities for levelling access to education and workplaces (e.g., Skype Translator); and as direct beneficiaries of these digital solutions, deaf individuals have the potential to provide input to product development and innovation processes as new products and services reach the market.