This School’s Setup for Hearing Impaired Students Shows the Power of Custom AV

An audio strategy for hearing impaired students at Alvik School in Stockholm centered around Shure Microflex Wireless demonstrates why custom AV will always be necessary.

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Alvik School leverages custom AV to equip students for lifelong learning.

With so much gravitation toward high-volume, scalable and repeatable audio, video and unified communications and collaboration solutions, it’s easy to perceive that the need for custom AV is declining.

Then a story like what Alvik School in Stockholm, Sweden is doing with Shure Microflex Wireless to address the needs of hearing impaired students comes along.

And you remember that custom AV will always be necessary.

It’s not our story. It’s Shure’s.

Andrew Low , manager, global marketing, integrated systems, for Shure, posted a column that explains the unique obstacles faced by Alvik School in Stockholm and how the Shure-based solution was developed. Read his entire article here.

Highlights from Low’s Column on Shure’s Website

Dilemma at Alvik School in Stockholm:

With around 1050 students, Alvik School in Stockholm, Sweden, caters to students from reception up to grade 9. About 120 of its students are deaf and hard of hearing, and the school has long had the ethos of wanting to enable all students to build their own identity and acquire knowledge in a safe environment that equips them for lifelong learning.  A crucial element of this is to ensure that they can hear the teacher – and each other – clearly.

Initially conventional wired sound reinforcement systems were tested, but these limited teachers’ flexibility and freedom of movement. Shure Microflex wireless microphones surmounted this hurdle, but presented their own challenges like the presence of large and obtrusive transmitters on the table during lessons, the ongoing need to check and replace batteries, and the challenge of finding enough available frequencies to allow multiple systems to be used in adjacent classrooms.

Inside Alvik School’s Custom AV Need:

The ideal system needed to be compact and unobtrusive, convenient to recharge, and scalable enough to fit many systems in limited radio spectrum.  It was at this point that Alvik School discovered Shure Microflex Wireless (MXW) system with table microphones and the promise of many available channels. The system was borrowed from a local distributor and tested in a small number of classrooms with positive results. This led to the first systems being purchased for the school. Hörservice Pontus Egerö AB handled the installation. Hörservice installs hearing aids for all types of premises in Stockholm and surrounding areas.

In addition, a conventional sound system of microphones and loudspeakers had limitations of its own.  In a small classroom with up to 8 students, for example, only the microphone is needed while the other elements of a conference system, such as speakers, do not significantly help those students with the greatest hearing impairment, and are simply in the way.

A Custom AV Solution:

The school employed a novel hybrid of audio and hearing assistance technologies to bring conversation directly to the ears of deaf and hard of hearing students.  The MXW system captures the voices of students and instructors, but instead of feeding this audio to conventional loudspeakers it is connected to a wire loop in the floor or ceiling of the classroom that radiates the signal directly to the students’ hearing aids.  Students simply switch their hearing aid to ‘T’ mode (for Teleloop or Telecoil) and it picks up the audio being transmitted through the magnetic field, ensuring that all students can be fully immersed in classroom activities.

Find the rest of this amazing custom AV story on Shure’s site.