EDUDEAF: Acoustic Classroom Environment

Key Words: Deaf Education Information, Deafness Related Issues

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Subj: Acoustic Classroom Environment
Date: 97-02-04 15:20:53 EST
From: JBastean@MSD.K12.MO.US (Judy Bastean)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Got a call from a parent concerned about her child's classroom environment. The child has a hearing loss and is considered hard of hearing . This is according to the parent. The school in my opinion is providing more than minimal accommodations.

They are using an FM system. Mom wants the environmental mic on most of the time because she is worried about the child receiving adequate language input.

They have carpeting on the floor and acoustic tile ceiling. They are willing to put drapes on the windows and use some partitions for additional sound assistance. This may help in my opinion very minimally.

Mom wants cork boards put on the concrete walls she is very concerned with reverberation.

I feel the school is doing a fairly good job on accommodating to the acoustic environment. Also the classroom is separate from the other classrooms it is in a separate wing.

I have suggested the use of a conference mic instead of the being on FM and Mic most of the time.

Any educational audiologist have any other recommendations?

What do you all think?

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Subj: Re: Acoustic Classroom Environment
Date: 97-02-06 20:15:14 EST
From: hmcdevit@RODEO.SD27.BC.CA (Heather Mc Devitt)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Re: Acoustic Environment. There is a Listening Environment Profile that you can get from Phonic Ear. This worksheet is used to assess the listening and teaching environment. It highlights areas requiring modification such as listening environment, customization of amplification and support to teacher and students.

Is this something you could use and share with the parent? If so you can phone in the USA 1-800-227-0735 or Canada 1-800-263-8700

Herather Mc Devitt

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Subj: Re: Acoustic Classroom Environment
Date: 97-02-07 21:47:07 EST
From: dr.j@RDZ.STJOHNS.EDU (Jay Lucker)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Dear Judy,

From what I understand you posted, the child is using an FM system. Since the purpose and value of an FM system is to direct the teacher's voice (or whomever is speaking using the mic) to the child's "ears" via the FM transmission, then the aspect of reverberation would not be a significant problem. Also, the input of language has nothing to do with the use of an environmental mic. The environmental mic is there only to provide extra input from the surrounding speech (i.e., other students in class and the child's own voice). However, if the FM were fit properly, then it should have been fit becasue the child can not differentiate between the teacher's input and background noise, so we "eliminate" the background noise with the FM mic from the teacher/speaker.

If the parent feels the child should be getting all speech input, including all background noise input, then the FM system is not of proper value for the child.

However, the professionals (audiologists and SLPs and the teacher if he/she is knowledgeable of FM systems and classroom acoustics) are the appropriate people to provide the knowledge and information regarding whether the child is ready to go from the Fm to his/her own hearing aids.

Now, if the child is appropriate for only hearing aid use, then better than all of the classroom changes like drapes, etc, it may be beneficial for the child (and all children in the class) if the school considered the use of a classroom FM system with loudspeakers placed appropriately around the class room (on walls, standing from the floor, handing from the ceiling) with FM mic used by teacher. This system provides the improved teacher's voice (amplified above the background sound by the typical 10dB = double the loudness of the background noises. And, all other environmental sounds enter the child's hearing field (i.e., hearing aids) naturally.

Consider the classroom FM system. It is portable so it can be moved to the next classroom next year, and does not require much modification in the class room environment. Other than that, consider reducing unnecessary noises in the classroom like chairs moving back and forth, tables shifting around with an inexpensive carpeting or pads on the legs of the tables and chairs. Again, a less expensive alternative.

Hope this is helpful.

dr.j!

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Subj: Re: Acoustic Classroom Enviroment
Date: 97-02-08 15:18:19 EST
From: henne@MOOSE.NCIA.NET (John & Robin Henne)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

> Also, the input of language has nothing to do with the use of an > environmental mic.

Wow, do I ever disagree with that sentence!! Yes, the clearest auditory input comes through the FM transmitter, because of reducing distance from speaker and improving signal to noise ratio. And yes, environmental noise comes through the environmental mic, but most importantly so does all the other language going on in the environment. An FM system well-used has the FM transmitter being passed around the group during so the student can hear all sides of dialogue, not just the teacher's piece - however, logistically, this can't always be happening.

The environmental mic is there only to provide extra > input from the surrounding speech (i.e., other students in class and the > child's own voice).

That "extra input from surrounding speech" and "own voice" are critical parts of the multiple repetitions in meaningful context that creates language learning.

However, if the FM were fit properly, then it should > have been fit becasue the child can not differentiate between the > teacher's input and background noise, so we "eliminate" the background > noise with the FM mic from the teacher/speaker. > Sometimes differentiation is the issue, but often it's clarity of what's heard - the student can pick out the teacher's voice and some but not all of the language used. The FM improves clarity somewhat by in effect placing the child's ear 6-9 inches from the teacher's mouth. I do think that eliminating everything else is somewhat draconian.

> if the parent feelsthe child should be getting all speech input, including > all background noise input, then the FM system is not of proper value for > the child. > I believe the point is to improve signal-to-noise ratio, not to eliminate all other input. Obviously each situation needs to be looked at individually. For example, during a spelling test, FM only is perhaps more useful than both HA & FM. During quiet seatwork, HA only might be preferable. In a cooperative work group FM only with the mic passing among the group or sitting in the middle of the table might be preferable. If the child is deafblind and can't use visual clues about who is speaking about what, FM only might be preferable. Having the lawnmower running outside the window during reading group might make FM only preferable. Etc etc....Basically I agree with the mom that in may/most situations both FM mic & environmental mic should be on.

Help me off this soapbox..... --

Robin

Uploaded by: B.J. Lawrence / Kent State University / Deaf Education Major