Happy back to school season! This time of year, we see many questions about FM systems in the classroom. Recently, a Ponto user and advocate sent this question our way. So, we wanted to take the opportunity to share an answer from one of our top audiologists.
Here’s the question:
“Does anyone have any experience with FM systems? My son is in the first grade, and he has bilateral BAHAs. The school ordered the Amigo for him over the summer, at that time he had the slightly older model Ponto (the Pro I believe). He had surgery to place abutments over the summer and to our surprise we received two new hearing aids with the surgery. I also got a Streamer. The Amigo isn’t wireless and doesn’t seem to be as compatible with the Ponto Plus as the Streamer.
Does anyone have experience with the different FM systems especially in the classroom setting? I have been told in the past that when FM is on, the hearing aid only picks up sound transmitted to microphone and blocks all other surrounding sound and I have been told that isn’t true. Neither of these people used the FM themselves. Can anyone who has a BAHA share?”
Enter one of Oticon Medical’s top Audiologists, Laura Phelps. Here’s Laura’s answer:
The Amigo is an FM system and is wireless. It’s likely that the Amigo FM receiver that would be used with the Ponto Pro (the older device) is the Amigo R2BA, which has 3 pins of same length, and plugs into the DAI port on the Ponto processor. This is probably what was ordered by the school over the summer. With the new Ponto Plus processor and the Ponto Streamer, the receiver used would be the Amigo R2, which has a longer Europin-middle pin. It plugs into the Ponto Streamer, not the processor.
So there are two options:
A. They can use the Amigo R2BA receiver, which is likely what was ordered over the summer, with the older Ponto Pro processors at school and use the new Ponto Plus processor and Ponto Streamer at home.
B. The school can purchase one Amigo R2 receiver which would plug into the Ponto Streamer and just one receiver would transmit to both Ponto Plus processors.
Regarding the question about what the Ponto is picking up, surrounding noise versus what is being transmitted from the teacher’s microphone:
For scenario A (above), the audiologist typically programs “Program 2″ as FM+M, meaning that the R2BA receiver on the Ponto receives the signal from the teacher’s mic and the Ponto microphones pick up the surrounding sounds.
For scenario B above, the Ponto Streamer settings default to receiving both the FM and M.
For either scenario A or B, the relative inputs from the FM Signal and the Mic signal can be adjusted if you want to change the “mix”. This is helpful if student reports that he or she is getting too much surrounding noise relative to the teacher’s voice, or vice versa.
I would recommend that the school Audiologists contact one of the Clinical Specialists through customer service for guidance, and the child’s Clinical Audiologist might need to get involved as well. It is often the case that the school Audiologist defers to the Clinical Audiologist to make programming changes since they are the ones that fit the instrument.
So, there it is! We hope this answer helps as your student heads back to school. Do you have other questions regarding FM systems? Please let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter. We’re always here to help!