Isn’t it funny how you know something is true but no one believes it until there is a “scientific” study performed that verifies it? I kind of felt that way this week when I read about a study indicating that children with reading problems, specifically dyslexia,  can benefit from FM Hearing Systems.  According to Nina Kraus, Ph.D., principal investigator of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University, “the kids who wore the device responded more consistently to the very soft and rapidly changing elements of sounds that help distunguish one consonant from another. That improved stability was linked with reading imporvement based on standardized measures of readability, which, as a long-term benefit, points to brain plasticity and makes this study incredibly exciting.”

Dr. Kraus is a brilliant scientist and I have been in awe of her since I met her a number of years ago. But couldn’t this just mean that the noise levels and acoustic interference in classrooms add to the difficulties for children to hear properly? The FM systems just let the children hear the way they are supposed to in the classroom and when they can hear better, they perform properly.  It isn’t a matter of brain plasticity. It is a matter of hearing normally.

I’d like to see the results of this study compared to the same study in a classroom that has been “wired” with speakers and mics which the teachers wear. This type of system will cause the teacher’s voice to be significantly louder than the background noise and louder to all the students no matter where they sit in the classroom. I’d bet that the results are similar.