The National Deaf Children’s Society has slammed Salford Council, for withholding “life-changing technology” from 240 young deaf children in its care. The Council is one of 43 local authorities that don’t provide 0-4 year-old deaf children with radio aids to use at home

The Society states it’s a “tragic waste of potential” when deaf children miss out on radio aids because of where they live, calling on Salford to end the “radio aid lottery”.

Salford City Council is among the one in three local authorities that don’t provide vital technology for young deaf children to use at home, and it’s leaving many of them facing a daily battle to hear their family and friends, the National Deaf Children’s Society has warned.

Figures from the charity reveal that Salford is among the 43 of England’s 152 councils that don’t provide radio aids for 0-4 year-olds to take home. The Council has 240 deaf children in its care who are denied this life-changing technology during their early years.

Radio aids, which transmit the wearer’s voice directly to a child’s hearing aids or cochlear implants, are crucial in enabling deaf children to develop their language, confidence and communication skills from a young age. If they don’t gain these skills early on, deaf children face a lifetime of playing catch-up and a greater risk of isolation as they struggle to understand what’s happening around them.

The National Deaf Children’s Society says it is deeply unfair that thousands of children are still missing out because of where they live, describing it as a “tragic waste of potential.”

Research shows that radio aids improve interaction between young deaf children and their parents, with significant increases in conversations both in the car (144%) and outdoors (88%). Current Government data also shows that in the early years, just 38% of deaf children reach the expected level of development in areas like communication and language, compared to 77% of hearing children.

“These figures show that young deaf children across Salford are being thrown into a radio aid lottery, where their chances of having one at home are based on their postcode, not on their needs” says Jo Campion, Deputy Director at the National Deaf Children’s Society

“It’s a tragic waste of potential and it’s deeply unfair” she adds “Radio aids play an absolutely essential role in young deaf children’s lives at a stage when communication, language and interacting with their family and friends are vital. They boost a child’s chances of picking up language, reduce the effect of background noise and help in situations where face-to-face conversations are difficult, like playing outside or travelling in the car.

“Every council has a duty to provide this life-changing support and Salford City Council now has a simple choice; deliver for every deaf child in its care, or stand by and let even more of them needlessly fall behind” she explains.