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Maximize FM Use

So, you went out and introduced yourself to everyone in the
schools where you work, right? Perfect! Now you’re going to need the IT
department and it’s a good thing you know each other J

Schools spend a great deal of money on FM systems for our
students and it is our job as the itinerant teachers of the deaf to make sure that teachers are
maximizing the use of the FM. I want to highlight a few of my favorites strategies

How many times have you walked into an assembly to find your
student with no access to the person who is speaking? During assemblies, there are often
multiple speakers making it necessary to pass the microphone from one person to
another. Some of the speakers may have no experience with the proper placement
of the FM microphone. It can also be cumbersome for the speaker(s) to wear the FM
transmitter while talking into the main auditorium microphone. I have the
perfect solution! In one school, we used rubber bands and a ruler to attach the FM transmitter
to the auditorium microphone. I listened through a student’s hearing aid while
another adult spoke– it sounded good! My students also reported improved access
with this method as opposed to the shuffling of the FM transmitter back and


When a classroom does not have a pass around microphone for
peers to use, teachers often comment on the difficulty of passing their
transmitter around for discussions. Generally, students do not know how to hold
the transmitter microphone unless they have been explicitly taught, and my
students with hearing loss complain of hearing “scratching” as it is passed
around the room, impeding their access even further! My colleague shared the
picture below of one clever solution:


Made from rulers and tape, students are now able to hold and
pass the transmitter- without any scratching sound! Instantly, access improves!

Media shown on the Smartboard or other projectors is
becoming more and more common in classrooms. While our students with hearing
loss have visual access through the use of captions, they deserve to have equal
auditory access as well. One of my cochlear implant users spoke with me about
the poor quality of sound she perceived when the microphone of her FM transmitter
was placed near the Smartboard speaker. Determined to resolve the problem, she
and I investigated! We went online, we called audiologists, we called the FM
manufacturer- there was an
inexpensive solution… a splitter! I was able to purchase a splitter for under
$10 at a local audio store. Connecting the splitter to the FM transmitter was not
so simple (here’s where IT comes in). I spoke with the head of the IT department
at the school and he met me one morning in the classroom before students
arrived. He knew what to do right away and was able to set up the splitter.
Now, the class hears the media though the Smartboard speakers and my student
gets the audio sent directly to her CI through her FM receiver. Because each
classroom technology set up is different, I have enlisted the help of the IT
department at each school where I work to help me set up splitters. I have had
100% success. I highly recommend it!


What are other ways you maximize FM use for your students ?

Hear Me Out

The Hear Me Out blog provides unique resources for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. It's a forum for itinerant teachers of the deaf to share their experiences as they grow as professionals! It is produced by Clarke's Mainstream Services team as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

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About the Hear Me Out Blog

Itinerant teachers of the deaf (TOD) provide direct services to children with hearing loss in mainstream schools, consultation to their teachers, and professional development to school staff. Itinerant TODs travel to a child’s neighborhood school to provide one-on-one educational support, foster listening and spoken language development, and help children build social and self-advocacy skills. They also act as a liaison between the family and their mainstream school. Hear Me Out provides a unique forum for these special teachers to share their experiences as they grow as professionals.

Hear Me Out is produced by Mainstream Services at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

1 Comment

Great post. Good ideas and thanks for the pictures!

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Hear Me Out Blog

About the Author

Heather Stinson (CAGS, MED, S/LP-A) received her master’s degree in Education of the Deaf from Smith College in 2006 and a graduate certificate in Children, Families, and Schools (with a concentration in research methodology) from the University of Massachusetts in 2012. In addition to her many years of experience working with children with hearing loss who communicate using listening and spoken language, Heather has also worked as a preschool classroom teacher.

Heather has presented both locally and nationally on issues related to mainstreaming students with hearing loss and is a contributing author to Odyssey magazine. Heather currently works as an itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing at Clarke Mainstream Services, a program of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.

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