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Deaf Awareness Week 2021

The Deaf Awareness Week 2021 will focus on ‘coming through it together'.

Deaf Awareness Week aims to promote the positive aspects of deafness, promote social inclusion, and raise awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support deaf people and their family and friends.

Here you’ll find our collection of useful information and resources to help raise your awareness of deafness and help answer any questions you may have if you’re worried that your child may be suffering from hearing loss.

What is deafness?

Deafness, or hearing loss, happens when one or more parts of the ear aren’t working effectively. The main types of deafness are:

  • Sensorineural deafness, or nerve deafness as it's sometimes called, is a hearing loss in the inner ear. This usually means that the cochlea isn't working effectively. Sensorineural deafness is permanent.

  • Conductive deafness means that sound can't pass efficiently through the outer and middle ear into the inner ear. This is often caused by blockages such as wax in the outer ear, or fluid in the middle ear (glue ear). Glue ear is a very common condition, especially in pre-school children. Conductive deafness is usually temporary, but it can be permanent in some cases.

Does my child have hearing loss?

Look out for the following signs which may indicate glue ear, mild or progressive deafness.

  • Changes in behaviour for example becoming withdrawn or frustrated.

  • Red ears in babies and/or pulling at their ears.

  • Delayed speech 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 affect their behaviour.

  • Difficulties with reading and learning.

  • Wanting the volume of the TV higher than other members of your family.

What causes deafness

Permanent deafness in children is most commonly caused by genetics, passed down in families, even though there appears to be no family history of deafness.

Some of the most common syndromes associated with hearing loss are:

  • Alport syndrome

  • Branchio-Oto-Renal syndrome

  • CHARGE syndrome

  • Crouzon syndrome

  • Down's syndrome

  • Goldernhar syndrome

  • Jervell and Lange Nielsen syndrome

  • Pendred syndrome, where children have enlarged vestibular aqueducts

  • Stickler syndrome

  • Treacher Collins syndrome

  • Usher syndrome Type 1 and Type 2

  • Waardenburg syndrome

There are several other causes of deafness, which you can read about here.

Signs of hearing loss in children

Your child may have a problem with their hearing if they:

  • Are slow to learn to talk, or aren't clear when they speak

  • Do not reply when you call their name or ask them questions

  • Talk very loudly

  • Ask you to repeat yourself or respond inappropriately to questions

  • Turn up the volume of the TV very high

If any of these seem familiar, please see a GP as they're able to help with any concerns and worries. More information provided by the NHS can be found here:

How to learn British Sign at home?

You can learn British sign language online easily using the fingerspelling diagram below, or attending a full course at

More useful resources we recommend are

Information regarding Deaf Awareness Week 2021 ‘ Coming Through it Together’

Childhood deafness Information by the National Deaf Children’s Society

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