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Pros and Cons of Assistive Listening Systems

Hearing aids, Cochlear Implants, FM systems, loop systems, and headphones, etc. rely on a person’s residual hearing. If the person has sufficient residual hearing, these systems can work well, but they may not always be sufficient in difficult listening situations. In these cases, they should be paired with another support system, such as CART or TypeWell.

When choosing systems that rely on residual hearing, the environment that the technology is expected to work within needs to be examined, such as background noise and distance from the instructor, to determine the most effective equipment to be used. For example, an FM system that requires the instructor to wear a microphone will not pick up learners’ voices as they respond to questions or engage in classroom discussions. An omni-directional microphone placed in the centre of a small classroom may be a better solution. 

Speech Recognition Applications

Software for speech recognition applications are still evolving. They often require training to individual voices, clear articulate speech, and lack of background noise. At this point of time, they are not recommended for classroom use. They can be useful for emergency one-on-one communication, such as asking a fellow student or an instructor a question outside of class time.