Children and hearing loss
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Amplification though hearing aids provides better access to the auditory information, hence better detection, identification and recognition. However, amplification is not a perfect solution in itself. Many children, with well-fitted hearing aids, continue to have difficulties listening in a noisy reverberant environment such as the classroom. Background sounds in a classroom, such as shuffling of papers, children talking, and noisy ventilation systems around the child may create distractions and hinder the child's ability to distinguish speech from background sound. In classrooms, auditoriums, and public gathering places, poor acoustics or a distant speaker - such as a school lesson - may interfere with the child's ability to hear and understand.
An FM system can significantly improve a child's speech perception in such difficult listening situations. An FM system gathers speech at the voice source (via a separate microphone) and transmits the sound directly to the hearing instrument in the child's ear. FM systems can subdue background sound by providing an average SNR (signal to noise ratio) improvement of at least 12-20 dB. FM technology enhances a child's development of communication skills. For a young child with hearing loss, an FM system maximizes early speech and language development and can assist the parent-child bonding relationship by supporting verbal communication. FM technology also improves early kindergarten and preschool student-teacher interactions by "closing the distance" between the child and teacher. With an FM system, a child can hear what the teachers say amidst the noise of the group.
FM systems may be useful in classrooms, churches/synagogues, civic centers, theaters, and convention centers, so children (and adults) with hearing loss can often attend a gathering or performance with comfort and confidence. Siemens pediatric hearing instrument are compatible with most off-the-shelf FM systems. Nowadays, most FM systems allow for coupling with audio devices like a CD or MP3 player, which enables kids to also listen to music privately. In most cases, this also works wirelessly but, compared to Siemens Tek, requires attaching audio shoes and FM receivers to the hearing instruments.