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Hearing dogs are changing deaf children’s lives
Hearing dogs are changing deaf children’s lives
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Quoted by BBC News: "Dogs are commonly known as man's best friend, but it turns out they may also be a child's – particularly if those children are one of the 45,000 deaf children in the UK.

"Hearing dogs", as they are known, could transform many young lives by offering companionship, confidence and independence.

Not only that, but these specially trained dogs could improve behaviour at school and lead to better academic performance, a recent study has found.

James Cheung is 11 years old and the owner of Kurt, a golden labrador retriever.

Kurt is specially trained to respond to household sounds that a deaf child cannot hear, like a door bell ringing, a telephone sounding and any alarms going off in the home.

But Kurt has proved to be much more than just a dog who hears.

"He is a wonderful accompaniment to our household," say James's mother Louise, from Derbyshire.

"I can't remember life without him."

Sleep companion

Although they have had Kurt for less than a year, he has become a close companion for James, who is an only child, and a reassuring presence around the home.

"James had sleep anxieties, which he was being treated for, but now that Kurt sleeps with him in his bedroom he feels much less isolated when he takes out his hearing aid at night."

Kurt has also helped James' social interaction, which he had always found difficult because of a speech disability.

"James is now mad keen on dogs, even his teachers have noticed. He researches them and talks about them. It's an interest which helps him initiate conversation with people.

"Before he would have avoided dogs. Now he adores them."

The study, carried out by Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, looked at the impact of hearing dogs on the lives of 12 deaf children and their hearing families in the UK since 2008.

It found that hearing dogs had a positive effect in a number of areas, such as helping parents get the child's attention, making bedtime and sleeping easier, and giving the child confidence – particularly in social settings.

Parental concerns about the child's safety also fell dramatically, the study found.


Michele Jennings, chief executive of the charity, says this is because they can feel more relaxed about everything.

"Parents are concerned about dangers around the home but we train dogs to respond to smoke alarms, to alert a child to alarming noises, even things like ambulance sirens when they are out and about.

The responses of the families involved in the study said the dogs helped the children stay safe near roads and prevented them wandering off in public places.

But there were other noticeable benefits to placing hearing dogs with deaf children.

Their teachers noticed better behaviour at school and parents experienced happier family times at home.

The child was also more likely to wear a hearing aid, which often led to better academic progress and improved speech.

Most importantly, the dogs became their friends – often "best friends".

Hearing dogs are trained to alert children by nudging the child with their nose or, in the case of an alarm clock, wake the child up by putting two paws on the bed and pulling the duvet off.

Loving bond

Hearing dogs can also be used by the parent to fetch the child when needed and to carry written messages in a small purse, which the child can then respond to in the same way.

"The dog is a great conduit between parent and child – it gives the child independence," Michele Jennings says.

The majority of the dogs trained by the charity are cocker spaniels, miniature poodles, labradors and golden retrievers – dogs that can cope in most situations and be obedient, loving family dogs.

Volunteers offer to socialise the dogs when they are puppies, and when they are 10 or 11 months old, they start their sound skills training.

They are then introduced to a recipient deaf child and the bonding starts to take place.

There are currently 750 working hearing dogs in the UK for adults and, following the success of the trial, the charity wants to train many more dogs to work with deaf children.

It's a costly process though, with each dog costing £45,000 to be trained during its lifetime.

All hearing dogs are retired at 11 years of age but they are usually kept on by the families.

"The bond between family and dog and child and hearing dog is so strong. It's a joy to see. They just become part of the family," says Ms Jennings."

Child Wellness

Align That Smile: How to Treat Your Underbite...
  Underbites are a serious medical condition in which the lower jaw protrudes out and up. This abnormal positioning of the jaw can cause serious physical or cosmetic problems, and it almost always requires treatment.   Methods for correcting an underbite vary, but professionals agree that early treatment is best. Once the jaw stops growing, only drastic measures will correct a lingering underbite. The best time to begin treatment is before the age of 13, and oftentimes the dentist or orthodontist begin working with underbite cases as young as 8 years old.   Depending on severity, one or more of the following tactics can be used to correct an underbite.    

Braces (Children and Adults)

Braces are a familiar treatment for crooked teeth and misaligned bites. They are often the first step orthodontists from places like the
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Chin Caps (Children)

A chin cap consists of a cap on the chin attached to a strap wrapping around the back of the head. The pressure on the chin can gradual reduce how far the lower jaw protrudes. This could be worn by a child for a year or more.    

Palatal Expander (Children)

Expanders are made of wire and plastic and are worn on the roof of the mouth in order to expand the jaw. Turning a screw allows a gradual widening of the expander. A child would wear an expander for several hours a day over the course of several months.    

Reverse-Pull Masks (Children)

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Surgery (Children and Adults)

For children, corrective surgery is only needed in the most severe cases. Underbites persisting into adulthood, however, require surgery to physically move the jaw.     While the best time to correct an underbite is in childhood, success is achievable at any age. These methods, when used properly, can give everyone suffering from an underbite the healthy mouth and beautiful smile they deserve.
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Family Medicine

How to Create and Maintain a Healthy Home Env...
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Preventative Care, an Important Part of Your ...
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Four Injuries Where You May be Entitled to Co...
  Sometimes, accidents just happen. You may fall down a perfectly clean and well-lit staircase due to losing your balance, or your car may hit a patch of black ice and slam into a pole. However, some injuries occur due to someone's willful actions, inattention or negligence. In these cases, you may be entitled to compensation to cover you medical bills, pain, suffering, future loss of income and other expenses. Here are four types of injuries that may entitle you to compensation.    

Domestic Animal Bites

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Hit by a Drunk Driver

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At-Fault Car Accidents

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Failure to Properly Maintain Property

Anyone can lose their balance and fall down a flight of clean, dry, well-lit steps. However, business owners are required to make sure their properties are well maintained. If you slipped and fell on ice or tripped over a hole in the carpet, you may be entitled to compensation.     Not every accident involves fault. However, there are plenty of injuries caused by incidents that could have been avoided all together had the person or persons involved been more careful. If you have been injured in an accident where someone else was at fault, you should speak to legal counsel before accepting a settlement.     Information Source:
5 Tips to Accident Compensation for Back Inju...
Back injuries following an accident can have long-lasting consequences, so it is imperative for you to look into your options if someone else's negligence was at fault. After all, back problems can be one of the most difficult things to heal from, and this could even make it necessary for you to alter your lifestyle and career. Additionally, the medical bills associated with this type of injury are often extremely expensive. Fortunately, there are a few different techniques that you can utilize to help you collect compensation for this medical problem.   1. Retain an Experienced Accident Attorney  Regardless of whether your back injury occurred at work or as a result of a traffic accident, you have the legal right to take action against any negligent party that was involved in the incident. Although the state you live in will determine exactly what you can sue for, it is common for accident attorneys to help you gain compensation for lost wages, medical bills, punitive damages and pain and suffering. For example, if you are injured on the job in Miami, an accident lawyer can help you determine if it makes more sense to file a lawsuit than a workers' compensation claim.   2. Adhere to Your State's Statute of Limitations  One of the best reasons to hire an attorney immediately is to help ensure that you do not let too much time pass. Unfortunately, your state's statute of limitations restricts your ability to legally file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, you will not be able to receive any compensation for your injuries.   3. Document and Keep Record of Everything  If you end up in a courtroom, it will be critical for you to be able to provide documentation that verifies your injury and how it occurred. Due to this, you should keep a copy of everything that your physician gives you, and it is also a good idea to photograph the scene of your accident if possible.   4. Keep All of Your Medical Appointments  It can be difficult to convince a judge or jury that you should receive compensation for your back injury if you fail to take the proper medical steps to help yourself get better. Therefore, you should be prepared to prove that you want to every medical appointment, including any that were scheduled for you by your employer.   5. Do Not Take Any Unnecessary Risks Some people destroy their chance of winning an injury lawsuit by doing something unwise such as helping a family member move before they are completely healed. Taking this unnecessary risk could cause you to deal with additional medical complications that will not be covered by your lawsuit, and it can also provide the defendant with the opportunity to photograph you doing something that will conflict with your injury claim.   Although a back injury is extremely painful, you need to make sure that you do not let this cloud your judgment and get in the way of your ability to take legal action. Therefore, you should contact an attorney right away because they will be able to advise you step-by-step throughout the entire process.     About the Author: Lisa Coleman shares several tips on how to help ensure compensation for injuries following an accident. She recently read at about the different kinds of compensation an accident victim can receive for such injuries.     Photo Credit: