08:00AM, Saturday 07 August 2021
More than 100 children with hearing loss have been provided with radio aids thanks to the Berkshire Sensory Consortium Service.
The Berkshire-wide service is hosted by Achieving for Children, on behalf of the Royal Borough.
Its educational audiologist Lisa Bull and teacher of the deaf Julia Battle have been setting up the devices, which have been particularly popular during social distancing and home-learning.
Social distancing, the use of face masks and listening via a computer, where the sound quality is significantly impacted, can make hearing clearly extremely difficult.
Hearing aids and cochlear implants work most effectively over a distance of less than two metres.
A radio aid is a listening device consisting of a transmitter – worn by a teacher, peer or parent – and a receiver worn by the young person.
It works by making the speaker’s voice clearer and overcomes the problem of distance from the speaker.
Jane Peters, head of service at the Berkshire Sensory Consortium Service, said the radio aids had been a ‘lifeline’ for young people, with many more now keen to try one out.
She said: “Our sensory impaired children and young people use a range of additional assistive technology to support their access to learning.
“Our staff have travelled all over Berkshire delivering and setting up equipment on people’s doorsteps and in the garden, providing advice and training online.
“We normally issue around 70 radio aids every year to every young person who would benefit from one.
“This year more young people have wanted to try one. (A hundred radio aids) is an incredible achievement and an amazing milestone.”
Councillor Stuart Carroll, cabinet member for adult social care, children’s services, health and mental health, said: “This is a wonderful achievement enabling children with sensory impairments to have the technology they need to fully participate in their educational experience.
“The service and its staff have gone above and beyond in ensuring young people with additional needs are supported and feel included against the very challenging backdrop of the pandemic.”
For more information about the service and how it supports children and young people with hearing, vision or multi-sensory impairment, visit: www.berkshiresensoryconsortium.co.uk