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Learning Disability Hearing Check Initiative Shortlisted for Prestigious Award

A team of nurses that has created a hearing check service for young people with autism or learning disabilities has been shortlisted for one of the profession’s top accolades.

The nursing team at Derwen College in Shropshire – pictured above from left to right, Phoebe Irvine-Shuter, Karen George and Kelly Griffiths – has been selected as a finalist in the Learning Disability Nursing category of the RCN Nursing Awards 2023.

Young people with learning disabilities or who are autistic do not always have access to regular hearing checks, prompting the Derwen College nursing team to join a pilot study on hearing checks in education.

Working with an audiologist, an NHS intensive health outreach team and a GP, the team was provided with hearing test equipment and given training to offer three types of checks.

Out of 32 eligible students – none already under the care of ear, nose and throat specialists – 47% were identified as needing further intervention, including ear wax removal, ear infection treatment, or referral to specialists.

Two students have now been advised a hearing aid would benefit them. All the cases where significant issues were present would not have been picked up before the checks done by the Derwen College nursing team.

“Undiagnosed ear pain and hearing troubles can lead to frustration and changes in behaviour, which can impact attendance, education and concentration during sessions, as well as relationships,” said Karen George, Derwen College nursing team leader.

“To be recognised in these awards as a vital keystone to students’ health, well-being and learning is a wonderful thank you to us, but also to everyone that we collaborate with on a daily basis.”



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