A Soundfield amplification system allows all students to hear well wherever they are seated in a classroom and whichever direction the teacher faces.
A Soundfield system is an amplification system which provides an even spread of sound around the room. The term soundfield has been adopted to describe a sound system using a number of speakers distributed around a classroom.
Listeners are surprised how relaxing the sound is, the volume level is such that when you walk into the room you almost dont know that there is an amplification system in use until the system is turned off.
Why are soundfield systems used?
Students spend perhaphs half the school day learning by listening. To hear well is essential for good student achievement. Most classrooms were not built with optimum acoustics in mind. At the rear of a typical classroom only around 55% of the speech energy remains and is diffused and ‘echoey’. Children are continually building their language base and do not have the same linguistic experience as adults: studies show that children need about a 10dBA louder speech signal than adults. Only students in their teens come close to matching adult speech recognition abilities.
Who do soundfield systems help?
Everybody! Although initial interest in a soundfield system tends to be generated by special needs support services in support of a particular student, once installed it is usually discovered that everyone in the room benefits. Teachers find that they have reduced voice strain (and stress!) and students respond faster, which results in a more effecient lesson. Even a simple command to 'turn to page six' tends to be responded to faster.
All students benefit in some way but those with various types of learning difficulties e.g. APD, ADHD and minor day to day short term hearing variations gain particular benefit.
With enhanced distributed sound from a soundfield system, students feel they are being spoken to with normal voice inflection rather than being spoken at with a raised monotone voice.
When should Soundfield systems be used?
For all class instruction by teachers and spoken participation by students.
A soundfield would not be used for individual instruction and it should not be used as a substitute for a personal fm radio aid for hearing aid users.
Hearing aid users require the best possible sound input quality and soundfield systems can be used side by side with personal fm radio aid systems. With the correct choice of equipment, the personal fm radio aid receiver ‘listens in’ to the classroom soundfield system. The teacher just wears their usual transmitter and the radio aid user has no embarrassment of needing to give the teacher their transmitter.
Other relevant questions:
Is the soundfield for general mainstream use?
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