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Hearing Aids, Auditory Trainers and Group Amplification

Ann Licata Jenn Mark Lindsay Frericks

Learning Objectives
Differentiate between the types of hearing aids. Know the basic functions of a hearing aid. Understand what a sound field system and an FM system is.

Understand the difference between primary and supplementary amplification.

The History of Hearing Aids

First available in 1899. Large cumbersome boxes which took up as much room as a small suitcase. Early hearing aid typically consisted of a separate microphone, an amplifier, headphones and a bulky battery. The device worked best when placed on a table and used with a pair of headphones. Although the battery was large, it only lasted for a couple of hours at a time. They were expensive, and only few people could afford to buy them.

The History of Hearing Aids

In 1902 a smaller, portable device which could be worn was introduced. Although the design was smaller, the amplifier and batteries had to be hung around the neck and the microphone had to be held in the hand in order to hear properly. The invention of the transistor in 1947 revolutionized hearing aid technology- increased amplification, longer battery life. Body aids were then the new transistor-style hearing aid until 1960. In 1960 the types of aids that we see today began to come into production.

Hearing Aid Facts

Hearing aids help a person hear better, but it won't return hearing to normal levels. Analogue aids boost all sounds, not just those the person wishes to hear. While the aid amplifies sound, it doesn't necessarily improve the clarity of the sound.

Monaural = a hearing aid for one ear.

Binaural = for two ears.

All Hearing Aids Consist of

A microphone to convert sound into electricity. An amplifier to increase the strength of the electrical signals and alter the balance of the sound. A battery to provide the power needed for the amplifier. Additional features can be added to certain aids.

A receiver to turn electricity back into sound.

How A Hearing Aid Works

The microphone picks up sound waves from the air and converts them into electrical signals. The amplifier makes these signals louder. The receiver then converts the processed signals back into sound waves and directs them into the ear.

Types of Hearing Aids

Behind-the-Ear (BTE)
Banana-shaped case conveys sound via a tube to the ear mold. The electronics are housed in a case that is fitted behind the ear.
More power.

Can provide better sound quality. Can be more reliable than smaller aids. Recommended for children because of its large size. Used with more severe hearing losses. Less chance of whistling because microphone is located further from the receiver.

In-The-Ear (ITE)
Used with a variety of hearing losses. Fit in the ear canal with no visible wires or tubes.

In-The-Canal (ITC)
Fits in the lower portion of the ear. Less-visible. Easier to maintain. Offer better acoustics because of position of the microphone. Because of size, difficulties with use of volume, insertion of battery, etc. can occur. Does not have the power of larger aids. Less powerful than ITE. Used with a variety of hearing losses. $ Expensive $

Completely-In-The-Canal (CIC)
Smallest, least visible. Needs less volume b/c closer to ear. Lesser chance of feedback or whistling while on telephone. Low battery life. Some types of hearing loss or ear canal shapes cannot wear. Better high-frequency amplification.

Body Hearing Aid

A large microphone, amplifier, and power supply are

placed inside a case that is attached to the persons clothing.

The receiver attaches directly to the ear mold which receives its power through wires from the amplifier.
Often used by people with profound hearing loss or young children. The most powerful hearing aids.

Disposable Hearing Aids

A one-size hearing aid Because of the soft material, fits almost all adults. Can be fitted in one visit. Wearer will automatically receive new hearing aids approximately nine times a year. The hearing aid costs about $40 per hearing aid Is designed to last for about 40 days. Costs approximately $1,800 over a five year period = one modern high quality digital hearing aid which typically lasts 4 to 5 years. Primarily intended for people who are suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.

Analog Hearing Aids

All the above mentioned hearing aids.
Pick up sound and convert it into electrical signals. Non-programmable. Less-expensive.

Digital Hearing Aids

Newest technology- a computer chip processes the sound, separating unwanted sound from the desired speech information.
Adapts to changes in the listening environment automatically.

When a Hearing Aid Whistles

The whistling that you hear is feedback from the hearing aid. Ear wax can force sound back out of the ear. Wearing the aid at full volume can cause feedback. An incorrect fitting ear mold can cause whistling. Programmable hearing aids work best in reducing feedback.

What is an Auditory Trainer?

A devise which assists students with hearing losses by amplifying sound. It is used to help reduce the signal-to-noise ratio (teachers voice, background noise). The more background sound (fans, traffic, computers) the more difficult it is to hear the signal.

Auditory Trainers help to reduce the effects of noise on the classroom, making it easier for the student to understand what the teacher is saying.

An Auditory Trainer can be:

A Sound Field System An FM System

A Sound Field System

A system which is made up of: A Teacher Microphone Transmitter A receiver (also worn by the teacher) An amplifier 2-4 individual Speakers or 1 single ceiling mounted speaker

How to use the Sound Field System

2-4 individual speakers should be placed around the room (this will help ALL students to hear the teacher voice better).

The speakers will amplify the teachers voice 6-8 dB's.

This devise is not meant to be for small groups or individual work and should not be used in place of an FM system

Advantages of the Sound Field System

Can be used by ALL students. Lower rate of malfunction compared to other equipment which results in lower maintenance costs and longer equipment live. Is not worn by the student so not as likely to be rejected because of cosmetics. Is said to have increased academic achievement, especially for young students. Teaches sharing and enforces group learning when using a microphone that can be passed around.

What is an FM system?

A wireless system that sends FM signals from a teacher-worn microphone and transmitter directly to an individual's portable FM receiver.

Components of the FM system

Teacher Components:
Microphone-picks up sounds direct sounds and converts it to electrical signal Transmitter-Takes electrical signal and broadcasts its by antenna.

Student Components:
Receiver-picks up the electrical signal being sent by the transmitter, amplifies the sound and then delivers it to the student transducer.

Types of FM systems
Basic: Earphones delivers sound to the child Personal: Uses the personal hearing aid to deliver the sound Direct-input Silhouette Neckloop Ear Level: Receiver is in the BTE, which also works as a hearing aid Boot or Shoe: FM Receiver that snaps onto the BTE

Types of Microphones
Lavaliere Microphone: worn on a shirt about 6 inches below the mouth.
Hand-held: Useful in groups so that the microphone can be easily passed around.

Headset: Provides the highest sound-to-noise ratio.

Transmitter Frequencies
The transmitter can be the most expensive part of the Fm system since it is vital for
Converting the sound Types of Frequencies Fixed Frequency Variable Frequency

Advantages of an FM system
Personalized to the student. Can be used with the students Hearing Aid. Can provide extra amplification for students with Cochlear Implants. Can be adjusted for various settings (full class discussion, reading groups, individual work). Is easy to transport.

Trends and Government Policies

Schools responsibility to provide students with any devices that are necessary for the child to receive reasonable benefit from his or her educational environment. Assistive devices that are purchased by the school may be used outside of the school day. This is permitted on an individual basis, and must be part of the students IEP. Schools are required to use all funds available to them to provide services and devices free of charge to the students and their parents. Evaluation for assistive technology must include a functional evaluation of the children n their customary environment.

Auditory Needs of Students

Must take into consideration that the child may need additional amounts or different types of hearing assistance throughout the day. Educators need to be aware of the students selfesteem and what they are comfortable using. Teachers need to help the students demonstrate the system to the other students and allow them ample adjustment time. Keep in mind that the assistive devices may vary according to the physical environment of the class, or area that the student is in.

Amplification and Assistive Device Options

Hearing Aids Cochlear Implants Universal Amplifiers FM systems
Personal FM Self contained FM Sound Field FM Hearing aid/ FM combination

Ownership Options
School owned auditory devices
Student owned auditory devices Joint ownership

(school purchases transmitter and student purchases receiver)

Primary vs. Supplementary Amplification

Primary amplification is the childs personal hearing aids and hearing instruments. Supplementary amplification provides the enhancement of the auditory signal. For example, the childs hearing aids and ear molds would be the primary amplification while the FM system would be the supplementary amplification.

Hearing - Impaired Sound Systems in Hearing Classes

Studies have shown that field FM systems help hearing students as well as hearing-impaired students. The FM systems improve the students performance on spelling, reading and test scores. The field FM system amplifies the teachers voice to the class, which eliminates some of the negative affects of background noise. The students perception of what the teacher is saying and teaching is consistent in all areas of the room when there is a field FM system.