by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A hard of hearing teacher wrote:
It seems to me that loop systems and FM systems are better for students than for teachers. How would either benefit a teacher? It seems that those systems are set up to have one person (usually the teacher) wear the microphone and the sound gets to the students. But how does that work when there are 25 kids and the teacher is hard of hearing?
This is a basic problem with assistive devices such as room loops and FM systems. They are made to go from one hearing person to one or more hard of hearing people, not from many hearing people to one hard of hearing person like you need.
If you had a small classroom, it is possible to add 2 or 3 microphones scattered around the room all feeding into a loop system for example—but the students still must pass the microphones around for this to be truly effective.
One solution (and one that was specifically designed for a hard of hearing teacher by the way) is to use a PockeTalker, neckloop and a super-directional microphone. I have found this combination is quite effective. Typically, I use mine at noisy conferences, but it also works well in quiet situations as well. You might want to try it and see how well it works for you.
If you don’t wear hearing aids, you can skip the neckloop and add earbuds instead. I often do this as it works wonderfully well for my particular hearing loss.
Note: when you switch your hearing aids to t-coil mode, much of the background noise in the classroom is blocked out. You only hear what enters the directional microphone. Compared to just using your hearing aids, the difference is quite dramatic.