A music teacher’s refusal to wear a FM microphone in a thirteen-year-old girl’s music class at a middle school in Vermont, US, is the focus of a state legal case on the student’s rights.
Reading the legal briefing document for this case gives excellent insights to practical challenges and limits of using a FM system with a microphone on a school campus.
The school invested in the FM system and staff training to convey how the sound of their voices was sent to the student’s BAHA hearing-devices. Emphasis was put on the system’s ability to limit noise in classes where spoken teacher instruction and dialogue prevailed.
For two years, the music teacher failed to wear the FM microphone in her band or music class, saying the student said the system hurt her ears during singing and music activities.
When To Use FM Systems?
Since May 2015 when the case was filed, school staff are observing the student’s FM system plan – which extended to the field hockey pitch, with coaches passing the microphone between them during practice. However the limits of FM systems meant the student could not hear her team mates and opponents at this time, with frustration ensuing on both sides.
Notably, the teacher of Technical Education had raised concerns that the FM system might over-amplify noise from power tools in classes, and confirmed with an audiologist that the software in the student’s hearing devices would contain the sound to comfortable levels.