Analog workers show sound perception of deaf childrens’ needs

3 Dec 2008

Workers at Analog Devices in Ireland have built a new state-of-the-art sound perception room at St Mary’s Primary School for Deaf Girls in Cabra.

Sound perception is a very important aspect of the education of deaf children. Fundamental to any educational programme for the deaf child is the principle of enabling the child to make the maximum use of whatever hearing he or she has.

To do this, it is necessary to provide the child with high-quality hearing aids, and also to ensure that the amplification and quality of sound in the classroom environment is the best possible available.

The new Sound Perception room in St Mary’s School has been specially designed by Analog Devices to provide the best-quality sound that technology can offer.

“Sound perception training focuses on training the deaf child to listen to sound and gain the greatest benefit from the amplification,” explained Margaret Farrell, a teacher at St Mary’s School.

“This is done through the music programme. Performing on musical instruments, and dancing and singing are fun ways of developing good listening skills.”

Analog Devices specialises in designing circuits that play a fundamental role in converting and processing real-life phenomena such as sound, light, motion, pressure and temperature into electrical signals to be used in a wide range of electrical equipment. The company is best known for developing the circuits for the Nintendo Wii and airbags for cars.

“The new room has excellent amplification provided by the Soundfield system, and all the audiovisual and musical equipment is linked to this to ensure a totally integrated, high-quality surround sound experience,” said Michael Kinsella, HR business partner, Analog Devices.

“There is a suite of six electronic keyboards with headphones all interconnected and a mixing board. This allows the pupils to practise music independently, and at the flick of a switch, each performance can be heard through the speaker.

“This means that instead of separate practice rooms, the teacher can teach all the class together in the same room. The new computer is linked to the keyboards and the interactive whiteboard, and allows for viewing DVDs and educational programmes on the large screen.

“Various software programmes have been installed so that pupils have access to their very own recording studio, and a webcam allows performances to be videotaped live in the room and played back on the whiteboard,” Kinsella said.

By John Kennedy