These include systems that amplify speech, such as built-in induction loop systems, portable loops and personal radio aids. There are also messaging systems, mobile phones and many other alerting devices designed to assist those who have a hearing impairment or who are deaf.
When working with deaf students it may be preferable to communicate with the support of specialists in lipspeaking or British Sign Language to using technology. However, text messages and e-mail are often found useful, and a flashing light, vibrating pad or watch alert may be handy too.
Induction loop systems are now available in many lecture halls and larger rooms. It is important to check the system is working, and to use the microphone provided.
Portable induction loop systems also require the speaker to use a microphone. Radio aids may have a small transmitter that clips onto your belt or pocket.
In question and answer sessions you should pass the microphone around. Check that a student with a hearing impairment is able to participate in the discussion.
For more distant communication text is a good alternative to the telephone, whether by short message service (SMS), TypeTalk or e-mail.
Students will probably already have developed their own alert systems, such as room buzzers or clock alarms, for use while studying privately. However, it is important for those working in the library, shared public places or halls of residence to have set up alternative alarm systems.
Induction loops systems and radio aids do not change the sounds that are heard, other than to make them louder and help block out extraneous noises, so clarity of speech and use of microphones is crucial.
At times electrical interference can occur, causing a buzzing noise in the hearing aid. This can be very uncomfortable – systems need regular maintenance and checks to avoid this happening.
It may be possible to hear conversations in other rooms with some induction loops. Private conversations may need to be held away from the loop system.
If you have an infrared system rather than an induction loop system you may find it does not work as efficiently when there is very bright overhead lighting or sunlight.