DEAF children in Wiltshire are missing out on owning crucial radio aids because of where they live, a national charity has claimed.

The National Deaf Children’s Society found that Wiltshire is among 43 councils that do not offer the technology for children under four.

A radio aid is a device that transmits the wearer’s voice straight into a child’s hearing aids.

The charity says 310 have missed out in Wiltshire and called it a “tragic waste of potential” that young people could miss out because of where they live.

Pauline Church, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for children, said: “We currently provide radio aids in schools and in some preschool settings in the year before school entry typically from the age of 3 ½ to 4.

“Radio aids are not suitable for child to child interactions which form the basis of most nursery/preschool setting work. Group activities are often small carpet-based activities where the group is quiet, and the leader sits close to the children.

“We provide training to settings on the use of the systems and carry out evaluation of the benefit of these systems using speech perception tests and where they are able to express a view, after a trail period by asking the child.

“Radio aids are primarily provided as systems for educational use, however where we do provide them for a setting we do allow them to be taken home.

“For home use there is potential benefit for hearing at distance; in outdoor spaces e.g. playgrounds and on bike rides, but research is limited and of necessity involves small numbers where the lack of control groups and the subjective nature of trails make it difficult to draw definite conclusions.

“Specialist qualified teachers of the deaf work closely with audiology departments and support families making contact within days of diagnosis. As such we develop close relationships with parents monitoring the child’s progress very closely.”

Jo Campion, deputy director at the charity, said: “Young deaf children across the country 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.

"Every council has a duty to provide this life-changing support and they now have a simple choice; deliver for every deaf child in their care, or stand by and let even more of them needlessly fall behind.”

“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."