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Directional Microphones, Head Angle, and Classroom Hearing Aid Use

Jason Galster, PhD, CCC-A

January 25, 2010

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Question

How is benefit from directional microphones affected by the listener's head angle, and how does this relate to children using hearing aids with directional microphones in a classroom setting?

Answer

We know from adult data that directional benefit will be maintained as long as the listener's horizontal head angle is within 15 degrees from the position of the speaker of interest. Any larger or more substantial deviations in head angle from the talker will reduce directional benefit. Our data with children in a classroom show that they do track (or follow) the teacher fairly accurately, and have an average deviation in head angle that approximates that 15 degree tolerance.

In addition to head angle, there are other acoustic factors for audiologists to consider when deciding whether a child should use directional microphones in a classroom setting. Some of these factors include distance from the teacher, the effects of room acoustics and reverberation, and the locations of the signal of interest and the noise, to name a few. Please refer to my AudiologyOnline recorded course, Directional Microphones in Classrooms, for a review of research in this area.

Jason Galster, Ph.D., is Director of Audiology Communications with Starkey Laboratories. He is responsible for ensuring that all product claims are accurate and backed by supporting evidence. Dr. Galster has held a clinical position as a pediatric audiologist and worked as a research audiologist on topics that include digital signal processing, physical room acoustics, and amplification in hearing-impaired pediatric populations.


jason galster

Jason Galster, PhD, CCC-A

Director of Audiology Communications with Starkey Laboratories

Jason Galster, Ph.D., is Director of Audiology Communications with Starkey Laboratories. He is responsible for ensuring that all product claims are accurate and backed by supporting evidence. Dr. Galster has held a clinical position as a pediatric audiologist and worked as a research audiologist on topics that include digital signal processing, physical room acoustics, and amplification in hearing-impaired pediatric populations.


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