Assistive Technology

Distance from the sound source and background noise can make it difficult to hear in challenging listening environments such as classrooms. Assistive technology may allow you to hear your best in some situations. 
Following are some examples that may help you:

FM Systems
The goal of an FM system is to improve speech understanding by optimizing the speaker’s voice while reducing background noise. The speaker’s voice is presented at a consistent level regardless of background noise, competing conversations, or poor acoustics. FM systems are frequently recommended for older children or those who have at least six months' experience with their Baha® and can provide feedback.

FM systems typically consist of three main parts:

  1. Microphone worn by the speaker
  2. Transmitter
  3. Receiver worn by the individual who is using the FM system

More advanced FM systems operate in a special frequency range (216-217 MhZ) that is reserved for assistive technology, and many of these systems offer multiple channels. If there is interference, or if a child in a nearby classroom is using a particular channel, an alternate channel can be selected to avoid picking up unintended sound signals.

Using a telecoil may be helpful at venues such as places of worship, concerts, and theaters. These venues may have induction loops, while others may provide FM neckloops.

Recipients use FM systems that consist of three main parts:

  1. Transmitter
  2. Microphone worn by the speaker
  3. Receiver worn by the recipient using the system

You can ask the speaker at a venue or an event to wear the microphone, and their voice will be transmitted into your receiver wirelessly. Learn more about assistive technologies and FM systems. You will need the telecoil unit to accomplish this. Learn how to use a telecoil.

FM Neckloop
You can use an FM neckloop which sends signals from the speaker’s voice through the neckloop receiver and to the sound processor via telecoil.

An FM neckloop consists of three main parts:

  1. Microphone worn by the speaker
  2. Transmitter
  3. Receiver neckloop worn around the recipient’s neck

To use an FM neckloop, activate your sound processor’s telecoil. Learn how to use telecoil.

Soundfield System
A soundfield system is another type of assistive listening system which is sometimes chosen for those who are too young or inexperienced with their Baha to provide helpful feedback.

Soundfield systems consist of two main parts:

  1. Transmitter / microphone similar to the transmitter and microphone used for an FM system
  2. Speaker used by the listener

Soundfield systems differ from FM systems at the listener's end. Rather than connecting something to the Baha processor, soundfield systems simply use a speaker. Depending on the model, this speaker can be installed in the classroom ceiling, on a stand, or placed on a table at ear level directly in front of the student. Portable soundfield systems are also available for students who change classrooms throughout the day. These systems allow sound to be constantly monitored by the classroom teacher so problems can be readily identified and corrected without much effort.

Soundfield typically provides only 10-15 decibels of advantage over the level of background noise compared to 20-30 decibels of advantage typically provided by a good quality FM system. It is also very important that the speaker be placed in an optimal position for the best results. If soundfield is used in the classroom, teachers must understand proper system use, or the child may not receive much benefit.

Learn about tips on having conversations