New technology supports oldest of skills: listening

Hearing support technology has brought a new level of clarity for students with and without hearing loss at Rutherford Public School. Sven Wright reports.

Two adults and a child standing and talking Two adults and a child standing and talking
Image: Itinerant Support Teacher (Hearing) Isaac Lawrence, student Ellsie Kuhn and Rutherford Public School Principal Andrew Brown with the school’s near hearing support technology.

A new hearing awareness video launched by Rutherford Public showcases how the school uses technology to ensure students can hear clearly, whether they have hearing loss or not.

Principal Andrew Brown said the new technology was an extension of the school’s existing support for students with hearing loss.

Mr Brown said the school had introduced 25 classroom Hearing Augmentation Systems, which reduce the effect of background noise.

He said this not only supported students with a recognised hearing loss but also benefited students with conductive hearing loss, and their teachers, helping everyone focus on the important words being spoken.

“It means stronger engagement for all students and levelling the field for students with hearing loss, both in terms of their participation in class and in the interaction with their peers during lessons,” Mr Brown said.

The system is being used in Kindergarten to Year 2 classes and has three main elements: a central speaker connected to the teacher’s microphone, a Wi-Fi connection for students using hearing aids, and access to small microphones for all students.

The video shows how the system works and includes interviews with teachers and students, including those with hearing loss. Classes have watched the video and students have discussed steps to look after their hearing.

“We’re delighted at how effective the system is, and a great example of using technology to support our principle of inclusion,” Mr Brown said.

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