How Does a FM System Work in the Classroom?

A FM System is a wire-free hearing system that enhance the effectiveness of hearing aids and cochlear implants. They can also be utilized by people who have mild hearing problems, and for those who do not utilize hearing aids, they are extremely effective in noisy environments. In this article, we are going to focus on how these FM systems work in the classroom. Firstly, we will delve a bit deeper into the inner workings of FM systems, how do they operate? How effective are they in enhancing the effectiveness of hearing aids and cochlear implants?

FM Hearing Systems: Simply Put

  • FM systems are often referred to as radio hearing aids
  • They decrease background noise drastically
  • FM is an abbreviation for Frequency Modulation, wireless sound transmission method
  • Measured in MHz = MegaHertz

Benefits of Using Frequency Modulation Hearing Systems

Here are some of the benefits of using frequency modulation hearing systems:
  • Crisp and clear sound quality
  • Utilizes infrared receivers
  • Confined signal for focused sound
  • No interception from outside transmitters
  • Wire free reception
  • Light and user-friendly

Drawbacks of Using Frequency Modulation Hearing Systems

Here are some of the drawbacks of utilizing frequency modulation hearing systems:
  • Powered using an AC adapter, makes it less portable
  • Cannot use infrared outside
  • Infrared technology requires no obstructions to work efficiently

How Do FM Hearing Systems Work?

Frequency modulation hearing devices consist of two main operative devices- a radio transmitter and a radio receiver. The transmitter captures sound utilizing a microphone or sound system, the sound is then sent to the receiver. Transmitters usually come with manual settings and display screens, settings include volume control, frequency control and microphone angles.

How Do FM Hearing Systems Work in the Classroom?

Widex FM+DEX Streamer ImageComprehending and deciphering speech in a loud classroom can be challenging for children or anyone who has a hearing impairment. In order for children to develop their vocabulary, they need to be able to access spoken words, this also facilitates the development of their hearing. For hearing impaired children, this can be even more of a challenge. Excessive noise, as well as being far away from the teacher and general obstacles that have a drastic effect on the child’s ability to hear. Modern hearing assistance technology can enhance the audio quality, but they are not capable of eradicating obstructions that could reduce the student’s access to vital speech. These systems are extremely useful in improving speech comprehension in loud environments. Frequency modulation systems operate alongside the student’s hearing aid by utilizing a designated remote microphone that sits close to the speaker. This sends the vocal signal straight to the ear, reducing background sounds and general noise. It is vital to be aware of the significant distinction between hearing audibility and comprehension. Hearing sounds and actually comprehending words are two different things. FM hearing systems can certainly facilitate the process of hearing and comprehending speech. 

How FM Hearing System Facilitate Speech Comprehension in the Classroom

FM hearing technology dramatically enhances speech to noise ratio, it identifies the voice and immediately sends an amplified version of the vocal sound to the ear. The distance is actually irrelevant because the microphone decreases distance significantly. FM hearing systems provide the child/student with an enhanced sound almost as if the person was sitting at a short distance away from them. Extensive studies have highlighted that when children utilize frequency modulation systems for a few months, there is often a drastic improvement in language and speech development. Overall, there is often a significant boost in vocabulary, and general speech and auditory comprehension. Essentially frequency modulation systems work effectively to remove three vital obstructions to speech comprehension, noise, distance and echo.

FM System Classroom Benefits

How does a FM system override the three most significant obstacles that adversely affect speech comprehension? Less noise Frequency modulation systems decrease excessive background noise, they are more effective than directional microphones and modern hearing aids. In addition to this, they deliver a better signal to noise ratio by giving more information. Essentially FM hearing systems develop speech recognition and improve language capability in children and young adults. Basically, hearing impaired students or teachers who often spend time learning or teaching in a classroom can benefit from utilising FM hearing systems. Less distance FM systems significantly reduce the gap between the speaker and the listener. There can be a significant distance between the speaker and the listener and FM systems will drastically enhance the sound to boost audibility and improve speech recognition. Less reverberation Reverberation, also referred to as echo, can drastically reduce the clarity of sound. The sound is delivered directly to the ear of the listener with zero interruption. Reverberation can often totally destroy clarity, making it extremely difficult to fully comprehend what the speaker is saying. FM systems eliminate reverberation, introducing clear and crisp vocal sound to the listeners ear. These systems provide flexibility as they give the teacher the freedom to walk around the classroom and deliver clear, uninterrupted speech to hearing impaired students. FM technology injects confidence and boosts self esteem in students suffering from hearing issues, as it uses enhanced technology to eliminate obstruction, reduce distance and eradicate excessive background noise.

Classroom Environment

FM System MicrophoneOne thing to bear in mind when using frequency modulation systems for the classroom, they utilise infrared technology. Therefore, if a physical obstruction is in the way, the system becomes obsolete in a sense because infrared signals cannot travel through physical obstacles. Therefore, in order for hearing systems to work effectively, the classroom needs to be free from any unnecessary physical obstructions. Hearing problems drastically affect a student’s ability to assimilate information. The classroom environment places emphasis on speaking and listening as the primary teaching and learning modes. More than 80 percent of the lessons are delivered verbally and students are fully immersed in auditory activities throughout the day. Classrooms can be extremely loud, research has shown that background noise levels in the classroom fall in the range of 55-75 decibels, the same noise level as loud printing equipment in an office. FM Systems essentially enhance the volume of the speaker to improve the sound to noise ratio and to eradicate the distraction of background noises. FM systems dramatically improve vocal clarity and audibility, thus improving overall speech recognition and comprehension.

More Information.

If you need more information on anything you have read here, or have already made the decision to use a system to help your students and need help with the right equipment. Please contact us by phone or email, and visit our Facebook Page for further updates.

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