Dr. Amy White discusses how FM systems can help hearing aid wearers better hear speech in noise. Though usually associated with classroom use, people of all ages and professions can benefit from FM systems. They work by transmitting sound from a microphone directly to a person’s hearing aids. To learn more about how FM systems work and how they can benefit you, watch the video below.
Hi, I’m Dr. Amy White, audiologist and owner at Elk Grove Hearing Care. Today I’m here to talk to you about FM devices. What is an FM device, and why do you hear that come out of my mouth so often? An FM device is an accessory or a tool that can be used in conjunction with hearing aids to help you hear more easily in noisy places.
Now FM systems have long been used by children who are hard of hearing in classroom environments where their teacher wears a microphone and then a signal is sent wirelessly to the child’s hearing aids so that the teacher’s voice is put directly into their hearing aids so they can hear them much easier over the noise of the classroom.
Now with adults, it hasn’t been as popular to use FM systems; however, they are no less beneficial. People who do really struggle in noise – and we find that out when we do our speech in noise testing here at the office – if you’re really struggling in noise, sometimes the best hearing aid on the market doesn’t do enough to help increase what’s called the signal-to-noise ratio.
The signal-to-noise ratio refers to hearing what we want to hear, being a signal, over the noise or the background noise. So think of a really noisy restaurant, and you’re trying to have a conversation across the table with your spouse, you can’t hear them because there’s so much background noise it’s overwhelming what you want to hear.
Hearing aids try and separate that information but can only do so much. FM systems can look like a number of different devices. This one in particular looks kind of like a big ink pen, but essentially what an FM system is is a microphone array. And this array of microphones you then lay on the table or you give it to the person you’re trying to hear, and they can wear it around their neck, and that microphone array does a much better job at picking up the person’s voice that you want to hear and help deemphasize the background noise. It is a significant improvement over hearing aids alone.
So if you’re someone who has struggled with hearing aids, you maybe have spent a lot of money, you’ve bought high-end hearing aids and you still feel like you really are struggling in background noise, it may be that your auditory system is so deficient in processing noise, that hearing aids alone won’t do the trick, and we need to consider devices such as FM systems or remote microphones to help you out.
To come learn more, come see me at Elk Grove Hearing Care.