Assistive technology tools: Listening

Learn about assistive technology tools that help with listening.

By Kristin Stanberry , Marshall Raskind, Ph.D.

Certain assistive technology (AT) tools can help people who have difficulty processing and remembering spoken language. Such devices can be used in various settings (e.g., a class lecture, or a meeting with multiple speakers).

AT tools that assist with listening fall into several categories:

Paper-based computer pen

This technology records and links audio to what a person writes using the pen and special paper. It enables the user to take notes while simultaneously recording someone( e.g., a teacher) speaking. The user can later listen to any section of his notes by touching the pen to his corresponding handwriting or diagrams.

What type(s) of learning difficulty do these tools address?

This type of tool may benefit people who struggle with: writing, listening, memory and reading.

Products to consider

 

Personal FM listening systems

A personal FM listening system transmits a speaker's voice directly to the user's ear. This may help the listener focus on what the speaker is saying. The unit consists of a wireless transmitter (with microphone) worn by the speaker and a receiver (with earphone) worn by the listener.

What type(s) of learning difficulty do these tools address?

This type of tool may benefit people who struggle with: listening or attention.

Products to consider

 

Variable-speed tape recorders

Tape recorders/players allow a user to listen to pre-recorded text or to capture spoken information (e.g., a classroom lecture) and play it back later. Variable-speed control (VSC) tape recorders speed up or slow down the playback rate without distorting the "speaker's" voice.

What type(s) of learning difficulty do these tools address?

This tool may help people who struggle with: reading and listening.

Products to consider

Resources to help you evaluate assistive technology for your child

The assistive technology products listed on our site have been compiled in consultation with Marshall Raskind, Ph.D. This does not represent a comprehensive list. The inclusion of any product is not intended as an endorsement. The information is provided to guide parents and educators in selecting products to meet children's specific needs.

Updated February 2010

Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness issues. Her areas of expertise include learning disabilities and AD/HD, which she wrote about extensively for Schwab Learning and GreatSchools.

 

Marshall H. Raskind, Ph.D., is a learning disability researcher. He is a frequent presenter at international LD conferences and is the author of numerous professional publications on learning disabilities. He is well-known for his research on assistive technology and longitudinal studies tracing LD across the life span.