FM Systems

FM Amplification, Hearing Assistive Technologies

UDL 1.1 UDL 4.2

FM Systems (Frequency Modulation) are wireless hearing assistance devices in which a teacher wears a transmitter microphone that channels sound using radio waves to a receiver that a student wears (e.g., hearing aid, bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA), cochlear implant, other wireless receivers) in order to better identify and understand speech in noisy environments or from further distances. FM Systems allow students to differentiate important speech sounds, such as the teacher’s voice, from surrounding noise, which helps students better hear and respond to a teacher’s directions. FM Systems support students with hearing loss or a concentration related disorder, such as ADHD, or an Auditory Processing Disorder by improving the perception of speech in the learning environment.

Implementation Tips

Collaborating with Specialists
Collaborate with specialists, including an Audiologist or other Technology Specialists to conduct evaluations to help determine if a personal FM System would best support a student with hearing deficiencies or attention disorders. Ask specialists how to properly operate the FM System.
Setting Up FM Systems
Check the FM System daily to ensure equipment is working properly. Create or print this [[ | FM System checklist ]] to help a student responsibly manage the device once it is introduced. Laminate or place the checklist in a sheet protector and provide a dry erase marker so the student can reuse the checklist daily.
Introducing FM Systems
Meet with the student to introduce the purpose of the FM System (e.g., “You will be able to hear my voice amplified during lessons even if you are seated further away.”). Model how to responsibly manage the FM System, such as how to attach the receivers, how to charge the unit, and where equipment is stored daily.
Minimizing Audible Distractions
Turn off the FM Transmitter when the student wearing the receiver or the whole class is not being addressed (e.g., 1:1 conversations with another student, bathroom breaks) to minimize audible distractions through the microphone. Remember to turn the device back on while giving directions or teaching lessons.
Improving Participation
Use the FM System to directly monitor the student’s understanding, or provide redirection without addressing them in front of the whole class (e.g., stating the student’s name into the FM transmitter and saying, “Geoff, nod yes or no if you heard my directions.” or “Geoff, please turn your body towards the speaker.”).
Building a Routine
Use the FM System consistently throughout the entire school day. Encourage the student to self-manage the unit using the pre-created checklist. The student will be expected over time to follow the steps involved for morning setup and end of day procedures (e.g., charging the unit).
Bridging Gaps Outside of the Classroom
Allow the system to travel with the student to specialty classes (e.g., Media Literacy, Science, Music, Art). Encourage staff members to use the FM System while delivering lessons to provide auditory support across content areas. Also, use the FM System on field trips to support auditory processing.
Additional Uses For FM Systems
Pass the FM transmitter to students in the class sharing extended responses (e.g., a student presenting a project to the class), or to a partner working with the student wearing the FM Receiver. To support hearing another student’s shorter comments or questions, repeat or reiterate them into the microphone.


FM System
After reviewing a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program) accommodations and speaking with the student's audiologist, a teacher introduces a personal FM System to a student with hearing deficiencies. The teacher explains, “This FM System will allow you to hear my voice more clearly, even from far distances in the classroom.” The student is shown how the unit works (e.g., transmitter the teacher wears, how to attach receivers, how to charge the unit). Both setup and end of day procedures are practiced using a [[ | reusable checklist ]] to help the student build independence while managing the system overtime. When lessons begin, the teacher switches on the transmitter to allow the student to hear directions and teachings with amplified clarity.
Soundfield System
Through daily observations, a teacher notices that several students in the classroom are having difficulty engaging and focusing during whole group lessons (e.g., students with hearing loss or a concentration related disorder, such as ADHD, or an Auditory Processing issues). After speaking with related services providers and the school administration, a Soundfield System is installed to provide an equal spread of sound around the room, and to make relevant sound (e.g., the teacher’s voice) louder than outside noises and distractions. While whole group lessons are conducted, the teacher’s voice is amplified by wearing a headset with a microphone attached, which is transmitted to a portable speaker.
FM System to Support Concentration Related Disorders
While determining accommodations for a student with a concentration related disorder (e.g., ADHD, Autism, or other Auditory Processing issues), a school team decides to offer the student a personal FM System. During whole group lessons, the teacher turns on the FM microphone worn around their neck and checks to see if the student’s receiver is attached. Instead of interrupting lessons to redirect or address the student in front of the whole class, the teacher speaks directly into the microphone to “grab” the student’s attention or monitor the student’s understanding (e.g., “Max, please stay on-task.” / “Max, please keep a safe body.”/ “Max, do you need help?”).

Related Strategies