How can Roger™ technology contribute to a safe and beneficial return to the classroom?
With the “new normal” of masks and/or facial shields being worn at school, we will see everyone in the classroom struggle a bit auditorily as the masks/facial shields actually do just that – they “mask” the higher frequency speech sounds. Depending on the type of mask used, studies have shown attenuation factor is about 3 to 12 dB and is predominantly above 2kHz.
The student with a hearing impairment will have the same issue with the “masked” high frequencies as typically hearing peers. But, these students using Roger might possibly have more access to teacher and student speech than the typically hearing students!1 Roger will still be very effective for our hearing impaired student in reducing the effects of noise, distance and to some extent, reverberation even when using masks.
Teachers will also see a benefit with Roger technology. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), over 17 million adults in the U.S. report some kind of problem with their voice.2 For teachers, the NIDCD has a simple recommendation: Use a “lightweight microphone and an amplifier-speaker system to reduce vocal strain”. A Roger Dynamic Soundfield system fits the bill!
With students and teachers potentially touching Roger technology, there may be a concern about sanitation of the equipment. The Roger products most often shared in the school setting are the Roger mics, like the Roger Touchscreen mic, the Roger Pass-around mics and the Roger Multimedia Hub. For the most part, these are non-porous materials.
In general, Phonak recommends using a surface disinfectant which is effective to kill enveloped viruses (such as COVID-19). For our Phonak equipment, we advise a water-based solution or 70% isopropanol alcohol. Please avoid any product with skin emollients, which are often found in hand sanitizers. When choosing a disinfectant, also look at the time the cleaner needs to stay on the device to kill the virus. Be sure to use a product that has a short “contact time.”
Simply wipe the Roger device off with your chosen disinfectant and let dry.3 You never want to directly spray disinfectant onto device or immerse device in disinfectant due to the microphone openings. Contact with liquids may damage electronic components inside the microphone. Try not to push any of the buttons while wiping the device with disinfectant.
The lanyard itself is soft and porous and not as easy to disinfect as hard and non-porous surfaces. The CDC recommends simply laundering cloth items.
Children with hearing loss wear various types of amplification from hearing aids and bone oscillators, to cochlear implants. Roger is compatible with nearly all. While we always recommend verifying the Roger fitting for transparency, Roger output and gain is dependent on the settings of the child’s personal hearing device. Therefore, Roger is a safe complement to their device.
- Goldin, Weinstein and Shiman N., How do medical masks degrade speech perception?, Hearing Review. 2020;27(5):8-9 Hearing Review. 2020;27(5):8-9; Masks and their acoustic side effects https://www.audio-infos.de/neues-in-kurze/2028-masken-und-ihre-akustischen-nebenwirkungen
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/
- https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/guidance-cleaning-and-disinfecting-public-spaces-workplaces-businesses-schools-and-homes; https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-04/documents/316485-b_reopeningamerica_combo_placard_infographic_4.19_6pm.pdf