Whether a child’s learning environment is in the classroom or virtually from their home, the ability to control the acoustics is difficult and underscores the need to optimize the overall speech signal. Providing clear access to speech is critical for them to learn. Research has shown that children need quieter conditions and better signal-to-noise ratios than adults to have good speech understanding (Bradley & Sato, 2008). This is because children with developing language and auditory systems have a smaller vocabulary and are unable to rely on the redundancy of language to fill in missing words (Neuman, Wroblewski, Hajicek, & Rubenstein, 2010). Other studies have shown that an inability to understand the teacher due to poor listening conditions directly impacts the learning of new concepts (Yang & Bradley, 2009; Leibold, Hillock-Dunn, Duncan, Roush, & Bess, 2013). The exertion of mental energy and listening effort are also much higher when poor acoustic conditions exist (Bess, Gustafson, & Hornsby, 2014; McGarrigle, Gustafsson, Hornsby, & Bess, 2019).
The EduMic classroom solution
With the release of the EduMic™, Oticon Medical offers a unique solution for children to optimize listening effort in challenging environments. The EduMic – a remote microphone system (RMS) –features 2.4 GHz wireless technology and integrates with the Ponto 4 sound processor. Built on the Velox STM platform, the EduMic features advanced signal processing, including Open Sound NavigatorTM technology. The EduMic preserves speech, operating within a wide bandwidth of 150 Hz to 10000 Hz while analyzing, balancing and applying noise removal to the streamed signal. To improve the signal in outdoor environments, the EduMic also features Wind Noise Management, which employs an added level of “cleaning” to the signal.
While the primary function of the EduMic is in the microphone and transmitter mode, it has additional modes that are useful in and outside the classroom. The EduMic can stream stereo audio from various sources by connecting via a 3 mm jack cable, connecting to Frequency Modulation (FM) and Digital Modulation (DM) devices via a universal receiver, or it can function in telecoil mode. Additional features to help with the management of the device include LED indicators, a retention clip and protective skins. The EduMic is robust and durable, provides stable transmission of the speech signal and provides the user with approximately 10 hours of use on a single battery charge based on internal device testing (EduMic Technical Data Sheet). Figure 1 highlights the EduMic design and functionality.
Clinical evidence concerning EduMic supports both device usability and the improvement of speech understanding in complex listening environments. In fact, when the EduMic was subjectively evaluated by a group of educators, 80 percent reported a preference towards the EduMic over a competitive remote microphone system (RMS) and described it as “easy to use and comfortable to wear” (Gordey & Rumley, 2019). When assessing the effectiveness in a noisy environment using a simulated classroom study design, the EduMic demonstrated improved speech understanding in children with hearing loss in both noise and noise plus reverberation environments when compared to using their hearing aids alone (Gordey & Rumley, 2019).
We encourage the use of the EduMic in all environments, including a child’s home where incidental learning occurs. This powerful solution provides children with an effortless transition into any environment because of its ease of use. Finally, this product is a great balance of design and usability combined with advanced hearing technology to optimize the learning experiences of children with hearing loss.
To learn more about the EduMic and how it might benefit your patients contact your clinical specialist.
Bess, F. H., Gustafson, S. J., & Hornsby, B. W. (2014). How Hard Can It Be to Listen? Fatigue in School-Age Children with Hearing Loss. Journal of Educational Audiology, 20, 1-14. Bradley, J. S., & Sato, H. (2008). The intelligibility of speech in elementary school classrooms. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 123(4), 2078-2086. Gordey, D. and Rumley, J. (2019). Enhanced Learning with the EduMic. White Paper. Oticon, Inc. Leibold, L. J., Hillock-Dunn, A., Duncan, N., Roush, P. A., and Buss, E. (2013). Influence of hearing loss on children’s identification of spondee words in a speech-shaped noise or a two-talker masker. Ear Hear. 34, 575–584. McGarrigle, R., Gustafson, S. J., Hornsby, B. W., and Bess, F. H. (2019). Behavioral measures of listening effort in school-age children: examining the effects of signal-to-noise ratio, hearing loss, and amplification. Ear Hear. 40, 381–392. Yang, W., & Bradley, J. S. (2009). Effects of room acoustics on the intelligibility of speech in classrooms for young children. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 125(2), 922-933.
About the Author:
Carissa Moeggenberg is an audiologist who has worked in the hearing healthcare field for the past 28 years. She is presently the training manager for Oticon Medical.