Report  |   October 2011
The Use of Sound-Field Amplification Devices in Different Types of Classrooms
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Wayne J. Wilson
    The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Julie Marinac
    The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Kathryn Pitty
    The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Carolyn Burrows
    The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Correspondence to Wayne J. Wilson: w.wilson@uq.edu.au
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Ilsa Schwarz
    Associate Editor: Ilsa Schwarz×
Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / School-Based Settings
Report   |   October 2011
The Use of Sound-Field Amplification Devices in Different Types of Classrooms
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools October 2011, Vol.42, 395-407. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/09-0080)
History: Accepted 07 Jan 2011 , Received 24 Nov 2009 , Revised 16 Jul 2010
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools October 2011, Vol.42, 395-407. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/09-0080)
History: Accepted 07 Jan 2011 , Received 24 Nov 2009 , Revised 16 Jul 2010

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if sound-field amplification (SFA) devices affected student performance in 3 different types of classrooms.

Method: The classroom performance of 147 children (77 males, 70 females, ages 8;2 [years;months] ± 5 months) was measured at the beginning and end of the second semester of their third year in 1 of 4 primary schools in Brisbane, Australia. Each school contained 2 participating classrooms, 1 with and 1 without an SFA device.

Results: The SFA devices contributed to small but significant improvements in student listening (p < .01) and auditory analysis (p < .05) skills, but only in the school where the participating classrooms were in a brick building (vs. a demountable building) with neighboring classrooms separated by solid walls (vs. open spaces). The classrooms in this school showed the lowest background noise measures (47–50 dB 1 hr, A weighted) and the second lowest reverberation times (0.87–0.91 s) overall, although these values still exceeded the maximums recommended by American National Standards Institute S12.60-2002 (2002) .

Conclusion: These results suggest that any potential benefits of SFA devices are more likely to be realized in classrooms with better acoustics.

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