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The Effects of Sound-field Amplification on Children with Hearing Loss and Other Diagnoses in Preschool and Primary Classes
AuthorFurno, Lois W. E.
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Effective learning occurs in auditory environments. Background noise is inherent to classrooms with recommended levels 15 decibels softer than instruction, which is rarely achieved. Learning is diminished by interference to the auditory reception of information, especially for students who are hard of hearing other diagnoses. Sound-field amplification (SFA) addresses the need for improving the noise to speech ratio while decreasing the distance between the sound source and the student's ear. The use of SFA amplifies the teacher's voice above ambient noise. This is accomplished by the placement of a receiver/amplification system in the classroom along with the teacher's use of a microphone and FM transmission device. Examination of previous research demonstrates the effectiveness of sound-field technology for elementary school children, establishing a rationale for using sound-field amplification with students who are of early childhood age. The purpose of this single subject study is to examine the effects of SFA used for children with hearing loss and additional diagnosed conditions enrolled in preschool, first, and second grade classes. The four focus students were matched with peers for further control, and studied for both displaying attending behaviors and rate of compliance following routine directions in order to demonstrate comprehension of spoken material. All participants demonstrated improvement in their attending behavior and compliance to directions. Focus students with hearing loss produced stronger results than their general education peers to the activation of the sound-field system. Teachers indicated that the sound-field system was beneficial to the focus students. All teachers reported they would use it again.Key words: Sound-field amplification, SFA, hearing impairment