Recent study proved effectiveness of Soundfield technology

In a recent review of issues relevant to listening conditions for school children on the Autism Spectrum (van det Kruk et al., (2017), it was reported that Improving the signal-to-noise ratio in the classroom probably helps students with autism.

Signal to noise ratio is compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. In the context of education, this means how much desired audio signals – teacher voices, student voices and AV – prevail over unwanted noise like aircon noise, furniture noise, traffic noise and the like.

Signal to noise ratio is uneven in classrooms given voices fade over distance and unwanted noise varies. Classrooms are auditory whirlpools!

The paper systematically reviews the literature to determine if improving the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) improves classroom performance in students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Methods: Six databases were searched for the terms acoustics, signal-to-noise ratio, classroom and ASD. Five studies were found that met the selection criteria.

All five studies reported improving the SNR benefitted students with ASD in the classroom. Benefits included improved listening behaviours, increased on-task behaviours, improved speech recognition and reduced listening stress.

The conclusion is that the evidence is suggestive that improving the SNR improves classroom performance in students with ASD. Limitations included the small number of studies and limited range of technologies considered. Further research should consider other technologies that could mitigate tactile sensitivities present in some students with ASD.

Soundfield technology – like Hear and Learn’s family of solutions – as reported by Carol Flexer, Ph.D., CCC/A, LSLS Cert. AVT Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Audiology at The University of Akron, achieves:

  • Better acoustic access, fewer misunderstandings, better learning.
  • More focused attention, better behavior.
  • Less classroom stress from high voice levels.
  • Fewer referrals to special education or ADHD assessment.
  • Reduced student and teacher absenteeism.

Hear and Learn has supplied soundfield technology to more than 13000 Australian classrooms and offers free trials, and design support for new school constructions.