Quantification of the Ecobehavioral Impact of a Soundfield Loudspeaker System in Elementary Classrooms Although it is widely accepted that an increased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is preferable for young classroom learners, there is a paucity of data that illustrate the direct effect of enhanced audibility on children with normal hearing, and schools continue to accept less-than-ideal classroom listening environments for their students. Eight students ... Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1998
Quantification of the Ecobehavioral Impact of a Soundfield Loudspeaker System in Elementary Classrooms
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Catherine V. Palmer
    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA
  • Contact author: Catherine Palmer, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 4033 Forbes Tower, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Email: cvp@vms.cis.pitt.edu
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Hearing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1998
Quantification of the Ecobehavioral Impact of a Soundfield Loudspeaker System in Elementary Classrooms
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1998, Vol. 41, 819-833. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4104.819
History: Received August 4, 1997 , Accepted February 12, 1998
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, August 1998, Vol. 41, 819-833. doi:10.1044/jslhr.4104.819
History: Received August 4, 1997; Accepted February 12, 1998

Although it is widely accepted that an increased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is preferable for young classroom learners, there is a paucity of data that illustrate the direct effect of enhanced audibility on children with normal hearing, and schools continue to accept less-than-ideal classroom listening environments for their students. Eight students in kindergarten, first, or second grade were observed in acoustically similar classrooms while the application of soundfield amplification was experimentally controlled. Observations of appropriate and inappropriate student behavior before, during, and after soundfield treatment were recorded by trained observers. A significant decrease in inappropriate behaviors came immediately after turning on the soundfield amplification. When the soundfield system was turned off, all of the students revealed a significant increase in inappropriate behaviors. All eight students revealed an increase in appropriate task management immediately following the use of soundfield amplification. When the soundfield treatment was removed, the effect achieved during treatment was maintained for all 8 students.

Acknowledgments
The project was designed after prompting from Ron Fecek, educational audiologist, and Frank Marhefka, hearing specialist from Intermediate Unit 1, Central Greene School District, who obtained the soundfield system for the classrooms. The author expresses appreciation to the principal, Craig Younken, and to the kindergarten teachers, Barbara Hartlaub, Mary Zollars, and David Artis, at East Franklin Elementary School in Waynesburg, PA, for their enthusiasm and cooperation during this project. Jan Litten, instructional support teacher, and Gary Winkler, principal, of West View Elementary School made it possible for data collection to take place in first- and second-grade classrooms. Thanks to teachers Stefanko, Miklanski, and Flagg for welcoming us into their classrooms. In addition, Chris Kaufman and Paul Schell of the North Hills School District provided technological support for the soundfield systems installed in West View Elementary. Susan Snyder directed the audiology students (Jenni Anderson, George Lindley, Kimberly Short, Tonya Ponson, James White, Amy Horowitz, Melissa Nascone, and Dana Raubenstrauch) who collected and analyzed data related to this study. Frank Kohler provided the original assistance in designing the data collection and suggested the use of the EBASS software. Thanks to Shye Hou at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, University of Kansas, for helpful conversations regarding the use of the EBASS program and for helpful software updates. Many thanks to Howard Goldstein for introducing me to Dr. Kohler and for providing thoughtful editing of this manuscript. Thanks also to Sandra GordonSalant, Larry Humes, and two anonymous reviewers for their careful editing of this material. This work was partially supported by a U.S. Department of Education personnel preparation grant.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access