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Benefits Summary  •  Who Benefits  •  Achievement  •  Behaviors
Speech Recognition  •  Teacher Preference  •  Cost Effectiveness

The Following People Benefit From Sound Enhancement Systems

  • Students with an Auditory Processing Problem
  • Students with a Minimal Hearing Loss
  • Students with a Severe Hearing Loss Using Personal FM Systems
  • Students with a Temporary Hearing Loss Due to Ear Infections (OME)
  • Students with Behavioral or Attentive Disorders Such As ADD or ADHD
  • Students Learning English as a Second Language (ESOL)
  • Young Children Learning Phonics and Phonemic Recognition
  • Students with Perfectly Normal Hearing
  • All Teachers

Students with an Auditory Processing Problem

  • An Auditory Processing Problem (APP) occurs when a child cannot understand or interpret what they hear. Their ears hear sounds, but the information gets garbled, blocked, or delayed on its way to the brain.
  • It is estimated that 3-6% of children have an APP; however, it is often misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD.
  • These children have problems discriminating between sounds. Thus SES's are extremely beneficial because the teacher's voice is crisp, clear, louder and the subtle differences in sound can be more easily detected.
  • Additionally, a child with an APP can only do so much listening before he/she tunes out because of overload and fatigue. These children use more energy to listen, understand, store, and retrieve information. SESA's reduce the auditory strain that these children experience when engaged in auditory learning.

Students with a Minimal Hearing Loss

  • A recent study in the Journal of the AMA showed that 14.9% of school-aged children have some degree of hearing loss.
  • A 1990 MARRS study found that 43% of students had a minimal hearing loss on any given day and 75% of primary-level children attending LD classes also did not have normal hearing.
  • Data obtained by MARRS revealed that 20-25% or more of the current school population have academic difficulties co-existing with minimal hearing loss.

Students with a Severe Hearing Loss Using Personal FM Systems

  • These students currently "miss out" on passive learning that takes places from discussions/contributions of other students in the classroom and from sound generated from other media sources in the room. A personal system alone only allows the hard of hearing child to hear the teacher. Most quality classroom sound enhancement systems include a handheld student pass-around microphone that allows the hard of hearing child to hear the other students.
  • Teachers do NOT need to wear an additional microphone. Teachers simply wear the microphone for the classroom SES* and the transmitter/microphone for the personal system is connected to the classroom SES receiver. Many classroom SES models are able to interface with ANY of the personal FM systems on the market, but be sure to confirm this with vendors if such an option is important for your implementation. This may be important if existing service contracts for personal FM systems need to be honored.
  • Some systems allow multimedia sources (such as projectors & TV monitors) to be connected to the SES* so that their sound is also pumped directly to the student's personal FM system as well.

Students with a Temporary Hearing Loss Due to Ear Infections (OME)

  • Sometimes weeks or months may pass before a parent realizes that the child has an infection or fluid build-up.
  • Fluid can remain trapped in the middle ear for 3-6 weeks before it is cleared, even after a week of antibiotics.
  • Chronic middle ear infections can have significant effects on the auditory processing skills putting them "at-risk" for learning problems.

Students with Behavioral or Attentive Disorders (ADD or ADHD)

  • Up to 19% of school age children have behavioral problems, with up to one half of them displaying attention or hyperactivity problems. (
  • The United Nations released a report in February of 1996 expressing concern over the discovery that 10 percent to 12 percent of all male school children in the United States currently take the drug (Ritalin), a rate far surpassing that in any other country in the world. (
  • The United States consumes over 90% of the 8.5 tons of methylphenidate (Ritalin) produced worldwide each year. ( Use of this drug has increased nearly 700% since 1990.
    (Lawrence Diller, Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill.)
  • Of those receiving medication for hyperactivity, 94% have had three or more episodes of ear problems and 68% have had 10 or more.
  • "Many children that are labeled ADD or ADHD have very distorted hearing. I suspect that up to 70% of the children on Ritalin are on it for this specific reason." (Kay Ness, MS, Neurodevelopmentalist, "Hearing, Learning & Listening")

The symptoms of hearing problems are often the same as ADD and ADHD. It makes sense. If a child can't hear accurately or intelligibly, why would they remain engaged in auditory learning?

Students Learning English as a Second Language

  • Children for whom English is a second language exhibit greater speech perception difficulties than native English speaking children.
  • Results of a 1994 MARRS project (Mainstream Amplification Resource Room Study, a project of the National Diffusion Network funded by the U.S. Department of Education) showed that ESOL students experience significant difficulty understanding spoken English in a typically noisy classroom environment.
  • ESOL children require a SNR of +20 dBA.
  • These children have been shown to increase test scores by an average of +16% when learning in a sound enhancement classroom.

Young Children Learning Phonics and Phonemic Recognition

  • Phonemic awareness is the knowledge that words themselves are composed of individual sounds called phonemes.
  • The better that speech sounds can be heard, the stronger will be the foundation for literacy. (Robertson, 2000)
  • "Poor acoustics, hearing problems, and immature listening skills all compromise detection sabotaging comprehension and literacy." (Crandell, Smaldino and Flexer, Sound Field Amplification Second Edition.)
  • SES*'s provide significant improvement in literacy achievement of first graders. (Flexer 2000)
  • The ability to discriminate word-sound distinctions impacts literacy.

Students with Perfectly Normal Hearing

  • Even a "normal" hearing child can miss as much as 1/3 of what teachers say due to poor acoustics.
  • Numerous studies done have shown that using a SES*, children with "normal" hearing experienced an increase in test scores across the board (reading, language, Scholastic Aptitude Tests, spelling, math, science, and others.)

All Teachers

  • "Teachers are 32 times more likely than any other profession to have voice disorders. Vocal fatigue and strain contribute significantly to burn out and absenteeism." (National Center for Voice & Speech, University of Iowa-2003)
  • SES's reduce teacher absences due to vocal strain and voice fatigue (a reported 36% decline in Iowa.)
  • SES's result in students being more attentive and having fewer requests for repeated instructions. This makes the classroom a less stressful environment to work in.
  • SES's increase teacher mobility.


* SES = Sound Enhancement System