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×
Article Information
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: Received November 24, 2009 , Revised July 16, 2010 , Accepted January 7, 2011
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2011, Vol. 42, 395-407. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2011/09-0080)
History: Received November 24, 2009; Revised July 16, 2010; Accepted January 7, 2011

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.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to acknowledge the National Education and Employment Foundation (NEEF) of Australia for allowing us to use the Redcat SFA devices donated to them by Lightspeed Technologies Pty Ltd. We are also grateful to Multimedia-on-Wheels Pty Ltd. for installing, maintaining, and removing these devices in the classrooms of the participating schools and for training the participating teachers in their use.
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