HH/Beck: Hi Ms. Faust.
Faust: Good afternoon Dr. Beck.
HH/Beck: Thanks for spending a little time with me today. Before we start talking about amplification systems Id like to learn a little about you.
Faust: Sure. Ive been teaching for 26 years. I primarily teach 4th grade, but I have taught other elementary school grades too.
HH/Beck: wow, 26 years teaching! You must be a very patient person!
Faust: I am patient, but I do love teaching, and that makes it easier.
HH/Beck: Do you teach the wide spectrum of normal children, or do you teach special needs children?
Faust: I teach regular children, but we have a dozen children in the class who are identified as ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), out of the total 21 children in the class.
HH/Beck: With such divergent attention spans and abilities, how do you maintain order in the classroom?
Faust: There are many tools and tricks for maintaining order while teaching, but the most impressive and useful tool Ive found is the sound field amplification system. It really has made a dramatic difference in their ability to pay attention, and in the ease with which we communicate in the classroom. The system I use has four speakers located in the classroom and I wear a mic-headset. I can travel anywhere in the class, and my voice is always easy to hear, and consistently offsets other distractions like the background noises, other children talking, shuffling feet, books opening and closing etc. Basically, I have a very soft voice and without the sound field system, I think it is difficult for anyone to pay attention all day long in a regular classroom particularly when the teacher has a soft voice, or there are lots of kids and activities in the classroom.
HH/Beck: How did you learn about sound field amplification systems?
Faust: Our school speech and hearing therapist, Jana Williams, put me in touch with an audiologist here in Johnson City. Carolyn Overbay researched the system and thought this would be a big help in a regular classroom so she offered to buy the system for my classroom. Carolyn asked if I would do some initial documentation upon receiving the system. She believed so much in this system that she was willing to pay for it, which is pretty amazing! I am very grateful to her for her time, talents and contributions. Anyway, it was January 2001 when she purchased and installed the system.
HH/Beck: OK, now, just to make sure Ive got this straight. Carolyn paid for the system out of her own pocket and installed it? Did she request a pre-treatment test of the childrens abilities?
Faust: Yes, she did. Before the system was installed, I gave the children a mid-year, 4th grade listening test. The children had to listen to me read, and then they had to answer questions on the material by picking one of four available answers.
On the mid-term, given in January, their scores were; 1 child scored 100 percent correct, 8 scored 90 percent correct, 2 scored 80 percent correct, 5 scored 70 percent correct, 3 scored 60 percent, 1 scored 40 percent and 1 scored 30 percent, for a total of 21 children at that time.
One month after the sound field system was installed, the scores on the final 4th grade listening test were dramatically improved even though the test was more difficult. On the final test they improved dramatically; 17 scored 100, 1 scored 90, 1 scored an 80, 1 60 and 1 scored a 40.
HH/Beck: That is pretty impressive.
Faust: Of course I had those kids until June, and as I said earlier, 12 of the 21 kids in the classroom were receiving special services and 1 child was hearing impaired. I certainly am not qualified to speak with you about the electronic or the acoustic characteristics of the sound field system, but I can tell you that there is a world of difference in the classes I have taught using my own live voice, versus the sound field amplification system. One major difference is the calmness of the class. When all the kids can hear me, all the time, from everywhere in the class, they are more at ease and their job is easier. The children simply get more out of the classroom experience when it is easier for them to learn and pay attention.
HH/Beck: So what youre telling me is that even normal hearing children benefit from the sound field system?
Faust: Yes, no doubt at all. Hearing impaired kids obviously benefit from it too, with and without their hearing aids, but the surprising thing to me was that virtually every single child in my classroom benefited from this system, and 20 of the 21 were normal hearing children.
HH/Beck: Those are dramatic results and youve made some very strong and convincing statements. Any negatives with the sound field system?
Faust: None whatsoever. In fact, even the cost of the system is very reasonable, and apparently a good system should last at least 10 to 12 years. Rather than giving the price, Id like to just have the readers speak with their audiologists and they can find out information specific to their needs and their situation. I can tell you that every single time Ive done a presentation for adults, in which Ive demonstrated the system, all the adults have the same dramatic positive reaction, just like the children in the class.
HH/Beck: I can tell you that there are a few studies in the educational audiology literature, and some in the mainstream Audiology literature too, and they all agree with you, the basic message is classroom sound field amplification makes an enormous difference in all classrooms.
Ms. Faust, I want to thank you for your time and your sharing this information the readers.
Faust: Thank you for letting me tell the story, it really is a remarkably simple solution to many behavioral and listening problems, and it really makes being in the classroom more educational and more enjoyable.
HH/Beck: If the readers want to get in touch with you, could they email you directly?
Faust: Sure, they can send email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
HH/Beck: Very good. Thanks again.
Faust: Youre welcome, it was my pleasure.
HH/Beck: Hi Ms. Faust.