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January 31, 2004

New technology for deaf children

From: BBC News - Jan 31, 2004

Deaf children in Belfast will be able to see the latest available technology to aid hearing on Saturday.

The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) is bringing its Listening Bus to the city - housing a mobile technology exhibition.

The aim of the bus is to introduce new information and help to deaf children, their families, teachers and other professionals.

The latest devices include loops and listening aids to help hear television or music.

There are also captioned and signed videos, sign language and other learning software.

The children will also meet experts from the NDCS technology service and get information about the support and services.

NDCS Chief Executive Susan Daniels said: "Technology is transforming the lives of deaf children.

"Having grown up deaf myself, I know only too well how important it is to receive the right information and equipment, which can both educate and liberate.

"The Listening Bus brings the latest information and equipment directly to parents and children, giving them the opportunity to experience new and different kinds of technology practically on their own doorsteps.

"Without the bus families might otherwise not find out about the services or equipment available to them which could make a real, significant difference to their lives."

The bus has travelled more than 100,000 miles to the furthest stretches of the UK and over 39,800 visitors have benefited from its services.

It is estimated about 840 children are born in the UK every year with a significant hearing loss.

Every year, a further million children up to 8-years-old experience temporary deafness and discomfort caused by "glue ear".

The Listening Bus makes a stop at NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, from 1030-1230 GMT.

*Amplified phones, textphones, and videophones
*Alarm clocks that flash or shake under the pillow
*Doorbells and phones that flash to alert you
*Special smoke alarms and vibrating pagers to tell you what is happening in the home