Articles I Have Written
- The Best Books for Kids with Hearing Loss
- Sleep Studies for Kids
- Adjusting to Hearing Aids
- Free Resources for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
- First Steps When Baby Can't Hear
- When Baby "Refers" on the Newborn Hearing Test
- Water Sports with Hearing Aids
- What is the Newborn Hearing Screen?
- The Best Hearing Aid Accessories for Kids
- Choosing Eyeglasses for Kids
- Great Hearing Loss Simulations
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Starting the Process for Obtaining a FM Sytem
Background noise is a real difficulty for children with hearing loss. The average background noise level in a classroom is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60dB. Considering Nolan's average hearing ability is at this level, picking the teacher's voice out amongst the din can be a difficult chore. Essentially, the signal-to-noise ratio is not high enough for Nolan to hear the teacher above the background noise.
For children with normal hearing, background noise is a problem. Many schools have placed sound field systems in classrooms to help raise the teacher's voice above the general noise level. For children with pre-existing hearing losses, a personal FM system is more appropriate. The FM system works with Nolan's hearing aids to give a much better signal-to-noise ratio. The teacher wears a wireless mic, which sends her voice directly into Nolan's hearing aids- it is as if she were only inches from his ears, rather than across the room.
Originally, we had planned on waiting until universal pre-kindergarten to request the FM system. Watching Nolan in his preschool classroom, however, shows that he is not hearing well in a group setting. He is disinterested in the stories during circle time, and wanders randomly. When a visiting youth pastor came to read a story, his loud, booming voice kept Nolan's attention. For the first time since starting preschool, Nolan was on the edge of his seat, listening to the story. For the first time, he could hear the story.
We decided to lobby for the FM system for next year. It won't be easy- it can be hard to convince school personnel with budget constraints that this equipment is necessary for Nolan to have equal access to the curriculum.
Our speech therapist wrote about background noise issues in her recent report on Nolan's language scores. I spoke to our audiologist, and she sent us a letter in support of the Phonak Inspiro FM System (which works with Nolan's brand of hearing aids).
We have our first CPSE meeting in two months, and we are hopeful the documentation trail will support our request for the FM system!