education despite hearing loss

Students with reduced hearing are unable to make friends in public schools and universities via sign language, which is why the Mary Hare School attaches great importance to the correct learning of the spoken language. The school plus boarding school for 240 children with hearing loss is located 80 kilometers west of London and is the most important place of refuge for children with reduced hearing in the entire country. A few children even come here from abroad in order to benefit from the school’s excellent reputation and the impressive results.

Place & Year

United Kingdom, 2011

Project Partners

Mary Hare Foundation


Main Focus

Children Providing audiological care for children in low-income countries is a focal area of the Hear the World Foundation’s activities.
Professional training The Hear the World Foundation supports projects that enable continuous audiological training for professionals on site.
Prevention of hearing loss The Hear the World Foundation globally promotes awareness for the topics of hearing and hearing loss and thus actively contributes toward the prevention of hearing loss.
Programs for parents & families By supporting self-help groups for parents, the Hear the World Foundation makes an important contribution, thus ensuring that affected parents receive specific help and assistance.

Many children with hearing loss who attend normal primary schools suffer from the fact that they are different to other people. They try to hide their hearing aids under their hair due to their embarrassment. Many lose their enjoyment and enthusiasm for school and are thus unhappy. Those were the experiences of Tony Shaw, the Director of the Mary Hare School. It is important to him that every child is able to feel as one among many. That takes a great load off the children’s shoulders.

285 “interface boxes” allow undisturbed and concentrated lessons

The Hear the World Foundation supported the school in its endeavours to obtain qualitative first-class technology for school lessons and donated the so-called “interface boxes”. This innovative communication system allows the students to wear their own hearing aids during lessons and to be connected to the “Group Hearing Aid”. This enables the teacher to speak to the entire class as well as to contact individual students directly. The system independently regulates the volume for every individual child. Responses come over the individual microphones. The students thus have a much better learning environment and are able to improve speech and reading abilities a lot quicker.

Increased self-confidence opens doors

Many students had attended a primary school before their time at the Mary Hare School. However, intensive catering to special needs is not possible there. Yet, after a few years in the Mary Hare boarding school, the students have not only remedied their linguistic deficits, but their self-confidence has increased and their personality has matured. After leaving the school the majority of the children and/or teenagers manage the leap into an academic career and transfer to a university.

Student representatives Arran Thomas and Natasha Sullivan Monks, both 17 years

How did you hear about the school?
Arran: “A foundation in Nottingham told us about it.” Natasha: “A friend of mine from primary school came here and he recommended Mary Hare to me.”

What is the difference from mainstream schools?
Natasha: “The class sizes are much smaller and I can follow the lessons much better, as we are all connected through headphones.”
Arran: “Yes, the ‘Group Hearing Aid’ makes everything much easier. I have also made more friends here than I could ever have imagined possible.”

What were the main difficulties you had when you previously attended a mainstream school?
Arran: “My social life was very difficult. I felt excluded and so then I was not able to concentrate well on learning.”

In what way do you get support at the Mary Hare School?
Natasha: “For me, it is important that through the technical link I can hear what the other students are saying in the class.”
Arran: “Before, I could only hear the teacher – now I can hear everybody.”

What is special about everyday life here?
Natasha: “There is always something to do, and everyone is included, no-one is left out.”
Arran: “It really is a friendly, community atmosphere.”

Is there anything about your personal experience that you would like to pass on?
Natasha: “Before I came here, I was very insecure and did not have much fun. But now I feel great, in a way I could never have imagined.”
Arran: “Before coming to this school, my hearing loss determined my whole life. Since I have been here, it has been irrelevant.”