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New help for deaf children



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PRESS STATEMENT BY THE ACTING MINISTER FOR HEALTH, MR JOHN McLEAY

New Help for De'af Children

A new system of wireless communication based on FM

transmission is being developed to help children with hearing problems -The Acting Minister for Health, Mr John McLeay, said today

the National Acoustic Laboratories had let an $800,000 contract to

Plessey Australia Pty. Ltd. for the development and manufacture

of the new system.'

The system, based on a design by Mr Victor Burgess of the

CSIRO National Measurement Laboratory, will provide improved

amplification for children who wear hearing aids.

It utilises an FM induction field which operates over

normal speaking distances.

Speech from a person using a microphone/transmitter close

to his mouth will be transmitted to FM receivers attached to otherwise normal hearing aids. .

Mr McLeay said that noise interference and the varying

of loudness with distance and voice fluctuation - problems normally

associated with such systems - would be overcome.

* A further advantage was that many units could be used on

the one channel without interference.

Each hearing aid would be carefully adjusted to meet the

user's individual requirements. When not used with the wireless

system, the aid would revert to conventional use.

Mr McLeay said the new system would be completed by the

contractor for implementation in two years.

In the interim, the National Acoustic Laboratories had

placed an order for 300 Sennheiser Radio Frequency Systems at a

cost of approximately $200,000. '

These units were not as effective as the new system, but would enable the program to start immediately, and would also allow : laboratory staff and educators to prepare for the eventual issue of

the new unit to about 6000 Australian children.

CANBERRA, JANUARY 10, 1978.