Young people with hearing loss feel let down during pandemic

A local charity for people with hearing loss has released a report which highlights the impact the pandemic has had on young people with hearing loss.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 5:31 pm
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 5:41 pm
Less young people feel okay about their disability than prior to the pandemic according to report

The report commissioned by Dumfries and Galloway Hard of Hearing Group reveals, that while just over 70 per cent of young people felt okay about their disability prior to the pandemic, this dropped to just 50 per cent during the pandemic with 35 per cent reporting feeling much poorer.

Masks were cited as creating the most difficulties, particularly in schools and workplaces, with six out of ten reporting masks were having an impact on their education.

Charity chairwoman Ann Ferguson said: “We were so concerned about the feedback that we immediately contacted the council about the use of masks with transparent panels in classes where there was a young person with hearing loss.

“It didn’t become apparent during the remainder of the consultation that these had in fact been issued.”

The report includes a personal story from a young person who had not been able to use her radio microphone facility as teachers were refusing to wear the microphone which required cleaning between teachers.

It also revealed only half of schools and workplaces had made any adjustments for young people with hearing loss, while other challenges young people faced included difficulty getting batteries for their hearing aids, or cochlear implants.

The consultation involved Dumfries and Galloway Council’s youth work team.

Ann explained: “We were aware the council’s youth work team have an excellent reputation for engaging with young people so were delighted to have their support and assistance which proved to be invaluable”.

The charity has committed to securing a fixed term youth worker to further explore how young people with hearing loss can be supported, starting with engaging with young people.

Jennifer Wells, a Trustee with the charity, and a young person with hearing loss, said: ”The person who knows what they need is the young person and each individual will have specific needs. No size fits all.

"This is not just down to overall policy, it goes down to practice in each school.”