Authors: Eriks-Brophy A, Ayukawa H
Title: The Benefits of Sound Field Amplification in Classrooms of Inuit Students of Nunavik: A Pilot Project
Source: Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 2000 31(4): 324-335
Year: 2000
Research Design: Case Series

Purpose: This pilot study investigated the potential benefits of sound field amplification for Inuit first and second language learners in a remote community of Nunavik, Northern Quebec. Hearing screening results showed that 26% of students attending the local school had hearing loss due to otitis media. The study used speech intelligibility and attending behavior measures, as well as interviews, to examine the appropriateness of sound field amplification in the multilingual and multilevel instructional contexts found in the classrooms of Nunavik. Method: Sound field amplification systems were installed in three representative classrooms for a period of 3 months. Speech intelligibility of Inuttitut syllables was compared in amplified versus non-amplified conditions for 10 students with hearing loss and 10 age-matched normal hearing peers. Observations of four categories of attending behaviors for a separate set of seven students were carried out prior to the installation of the systems and with the systems in place. Teacher and student comments were collected during the study and after the study was completed. Results: Results showed significant improvements in speech intelligibility scores for students with hearing impairment and normal hearing in the amplified condition. Total scores for on-task behavior improved for six of the seven students observed; all students demonstrated improvement in at least one category of attending behavior. Teacher and student comments identified numerous advantages of the amplification systems. Implications: Results point to the potential benefits of sound field amplification for multicultural populations that are similarly challenged by high rates of hearing loss, as well as for second language learners.

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