New Tech Solution to Help Concentration in Classroom Environment

Helping students on the spectrum to cut through and concentrate.
Jul 19, 2022
Tech helps to cut through noise and distractions.

Classrooms are the default learning environment, while they can be vital and fun they can also be noisy and distracting for those with ADHD or on the Autism Spectrum.

Developed by a team of technology and health experts, Voice Selector Study utilises leading advancements in tech to support focused listening. The technology cuts through background noise, honing in on the speaker and tuning out everything else.

A small tabletop device, The Voice Selector Study works with any wired headphones. It automatically tracks the dominant speaker and the user can also manually select up to two dominant speakers to track.

Eight built-in microphones follow the teacher’s, or the speaker’s, voice as they move around the classroom, reducing the level of background noise and enabling the user to focus with less cognitive effort.

Aimed at any pupil who is struggling to concentrate in learning environments, the device can also be useful for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), auditory processing difficulties (APD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), who tend to struggle more with concentration in classroom settings. ADHD is estimated to affect about 2–5% (around 1 in 30) students at school. APD is estimated 0.5–1% of school aged children.

Nuance Hearing's beamforming technology gives a world leading signal-to-noise ratio of 15db, (the relative reduction of overall noise in relation to the target sound), which compares to an industry-standard in real-time applications of 4-5dB.

A clinical study which tested the efficacy of the Voice Selector Study in classroom settings for 31 adolescents with ADHD showed highly significant improvements in the ability to focus on and listen to the teacher and in the ability to ignore distractions in the classroom.

Tami Harel, Director of Clinical Research at Nuance Hearing, said, “Classrooms nowadays can be very noisy and full of distractions. It is difficult for everyone to tune in on the teacher in a noisy environment, but for some children this task is even harder. Some children struggle to concentrate and focus on the teacher, and this effort affects their ability to learn and participate in the classroom. We’re proud to launch the Voice Selector Study to help children ignore the unwanted noise and distractions and focus on the teacher. We believe this can facilitate learning and empower students.”

The ‘core symptoms’ of ADHD are usually present before the student is 12 years of age and can persist throughout their school life. ADHD students typically have a short attention span and so can find it hard to concentrate and learn, especially in group situations. This can impact on their education and many of these students underachieve at school. Among children aged 6–16, there is a clear association between ADHD symptoms and academic attainment.

Image by Loc Dang