A soundfield system is an arrangement of speakers designed to deliver an even level of sound within a room. The speaker, using a microphone, talks in a normal conversational voice and the listening experience is the same for the audience where ever they may be in the room and regardless of whether they are facing the speaker.
How do soundfield systems work?
Soundfield systems are available specifically designed for classrooms with radio or infra-red microphones that are worn around the neck and leave the hands free. Some are designed to pick up sound whatever direction the speakers head is turned. A receiver is mounted on the wall normally near the board and usually in its own lockable box. This is connected to the power supply and to the speakers arranged around the classroom. A soundfield system is different to just having speakers as in a PA system because the aim is not to increase the volume of the speaker but to ensure that the voice is the same loudness across the classroom.
Do hearing impaired children still need to wear their hearing aids?
A soundfield system does not replace the need for hearing aids. However, it will give these children much more flexibility in where they are seated in the classroom as they can often do not need to be as reliant on lip reading to aid understanding. Children with hearing aids hear better in rooms fitted with soundfield systems than ones that are not.
A soundfield system is an excellent long term investment. Once fitted, usually in response to the needs of a specific child, the legacy for the classroom in terms of improved language, learning and behaviour is a powerful argument for them.