Laws and rules about issues of listening, and how they are being understood, have evolved. This is a blend of Federal Building Code, Anti Discrimination legislation, and State and Diocesan rules about building new schools and refurbishing existing ones. Just like rules pertaining to wheelchair ramps, ambulant toilets and the like, there are rules pertaining to hearing augmentation.
What does this mean to an Architect, Infrastructure expert, Electrical Engineer or Educator? Some background …
Learners with permanent hearing loss are supplied with a hearing aid by the Federal Government. Teachers and visitors may be hearing aided too. Hearing aids do two things; they ‘hear’ acoustic signals in a learning spaces and boost them for the wearer AND they also receive radio based transmissions just like a car radio receives a signal from a radio station. Hearing Augmentation involves the second process.
This means that as a bare minimum, just like in airports and entertainment venues, amplified audio signals from any device that is inbuilt must be transmitted to receivers built into hearing aids worn by inhabitants. An example of how this applies to education spaces is that the message from the front office PA amplifier to a devoted speaker in a learning space, must be augmented to transmit this to receivers built into hearing aids.
The Hear and Learn SoundHouse involves collecting all audio – including that audio that is required to be augmented – and transmitting this to any type of hearing aid using the technology built into the SoundHouse.
And, the SoundHouse broadcasts this audio evenly throughout the learning space for the benefit of all learners. Just in the same way we have 8 speaker systems in our cars – and not the single AM radio speaker on the dashboard – we are now making sure all learners irrespective of the distance they are from the teacher or how big the room is, are getting the quality and volume of auditory signals to allow they to learn better, and for teachers to repeat less, use less energy and feel more productive. This concept is sometimes know as Soundfield. Soundfield is being written into policies more and more.
Hear and Learn provides a no cost analysis of building plans to provide solution for all learning spaces.