Finding and Upgrading Your ALS

Part of finding the right ALS solution to purchase for your institution is that you may need to consider both current and future needs of deaf students on campus. Unfortunately, we have yet to come across an ALS that is compatible with every hearing aid and cochlear implant on the market. In this section, we provide some questions and suggestions to guide your decision making process.

Understanding Students' Needs and Preferences

Understanding What is Needed at Your Institution

Seeking Expert Advice

Acoustic Audit for Campus Spaces

Environments can play a role in how well an ALS can function. Even state of the art technology requires some modification to the structural environment to be maximally effective. Here are the best practices for classroom modifications to improve acoustic access for all students:

  • Increase absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles, mats on the floor, boards on the walls) to reduce reverberation.
  • Add caps to the bottoms of chairs to reduce noise when moving furniture around.
  • Assess the type of lighting in the room to reduce flickering or buzzing sounds emitted by the lights.
  • Address industrial noise in the room (e.g., HVAC systems, computers, projectors).
  • Close windows when noisy outside; get heavy duty window panes to keep the ambient noise out.
  • Keep doors closed and bottom of doorway sealed to keep hallway noise out.
In addition to modifications that improve the quality of an acoustic signal, there are many general design considerations in improving the quality of overall communication. These include enhancements to communication in multiple modalities:
  • Ample lighting
  • Desks arranged in a way that students can see each other (e.g., U-shaped) 

Institutional Responsibility

Ensure all campus spaces are designed and maintained in accordance with the most current ANSI standards. This is critical for all students/teachers etc, not just deaf students.

Student Responsibility

Take note of the classroom/campus space you are in. If you feel there could be modifications that would enable you better access to that space, consult the teacher or DSS provider.
If you are struggling with getting access to the front of the classroom seating, work with your DSS office and professor for options.


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