Remote Microphone / FM Systems

Chloe with Roger Focus Remote Mic SystemA remote microphone assistive listening device (previously known as a personal FM system) can make a huge difference in a child’s ability to understand and focus on instruction at school. The child’s teacher wears a microphone that picks up sound close to her mouth and transmits it to tiny earpieces (ear-level receivers) worn by the student. This allows the child to hear the teacher clearly as if she was talking directly into the child’s ear.  This improves the clarity of the teacher’s voice and reduces distracting background noise, helping the child pay attention and keep up with classroom instructions.

The newest technology, uses a digitally modulated (DM) signal. This provides superior sound quality compared to older adaptive FM systems without the risk of interference.  Personal DM remote microphone systems are very helpful for children with auditory processing disorder (APD) since these individuals often have poor ability to understand and remember sentences presented in background noise or difficulty shifting their focus to one ear when needed.  Even low level background noises most people do not notice (such as the hum from computers, children coughing, shuffling papers, and pens clicking) can be very difficult for children with APD to tune out. This is especially difficult for children with amblyaudia (lazy ear) since sounds that occur on the side of the child’s overly dominant ear override information coming from the other side. These children often exhibit poor ability to shift their focus to the side of the weaker ear. This can seem like the child has an attention deficit if he or she gets distracted or shuts down in background noise. However, stimulant medication for ADHD cannot correct this problem because it is a deficient auditory processing skill.

Roger Focus invisible in the ear

Without an ear-level remote microphone system, the sound level and clarity of the teacher’s voice drops dramatically over a short distance. In a typical classroom, only 83% of the acoustic information reaches students in the first row. Normal hearing listeners usually do not notice that the sound quality is diminished because they get enough of the signal to fill in the gaps and guess correctly.  However, children with APD need the full speech signal to reach their ear so that 100% of the signal is available for the potential to be processed and understood.

Brain imaging and electrophysiological studies have documented that since ear-level remote microphone systems improve the clarity soft sounds (such as f, t, p, k, th, h and blends) they improve the consistency of neural responses to sound (i.e. a “b” sounds consistently like a “b” instead of sometimes sounding more like a “d”). This actually improves the brain’s listening skills and the effects remain even when the system is not worn anymore.

Children with ADHD, Dyslexia, Language Disorders, and Autism Spectrum Disorder also benefit greatly from remote microphone/FM systems. Many studies have proven that since these listening systems provide the brain with a clearer auditory signal, the child is better able to process speech in background noise and focus on instruction. There is also now plenty of research documenting that children with dyslexia who used remote microphone hearing aids / assistive listening systems had more consistent auditory brainstem responses to speech. This is because the clearer sound quality facilitates the child’s awareness of the distinctive features of speech sounds which contributes to improvements in phonological awareness and reading.  The Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University, has many research articles as well as an excellent slideshow demonstrating the importance of this for reading.  Many schools are now using sound field (speaker) systems to transmit the teacher’s voice to speakers positioned around the classroom. However, ear-level receivers are much more effective at improving the clarity soft sounds and provide the best signal-to-noise ratio over sound field systems. To find out more about how remote microphone technology can help your child contact Auditory Processing Center.

Roger Focus Sandalwood with Roger Pen 1Auditory Processing Center offers a free in-office demonstration with your child so that you can see the benefits first hand.  We also have remote microphone systems that can be checked out for a one-week trial.

Additional Information

  • Up to 43% of Children with Learning Difficulties Have Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
  • 25% of Children with Learning Difficulties Have APD and Dyslexia
  • Auditory Processing Center, LLC
    541 Highway 80 West
    Suite C
    Clinton, MS 39056
    Phone: (601) 488-4189
    Fax: (601) 488-4888