Child’s voice amplifier

Project  / Project number: BK2018/42  /  Status:

The challenge

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James using his amplifier

James is 4 years old and has vocal chord palsy which means that he can only speak with a very quiet voice, due to a paralysed vocal chord. It is less of a problem at home, but when there is any background noise, it is extremely difficult to hear him, particularly at school and when out and about in his wheelchair and the car.

The solution

Commercial amplifiers are designed for adults and found to be too cumbersome for a small child.  A small custom built microphone, pre-amplifier and speaker were made for the client to wear attached to a belt.   The wire from the microphone to the amplifier can run under the client’s outer clothing.  Several microphones were provided, including one that was modified to clip onto the client’s spectacles, and one that incorporated straps to help hold the microphone in place.

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The benefit

James can now communicate without straining his weak vocal cords.  In the words of his mother: “We are still getting on really well with the voice amplifier. It has made car journeys much better as we can actually hear [him]! Equally, the frustration when he is in his wheelchair is hugely reduced. However, by far the biggest impact has been at school. He is talking with his peers now and is happy to speak up in class. I love this story his teacher told me  – he came back into the classroom wearing his mic and with the volume turned up and announced to the class ‘I’m back!!!’ He could/would never have done that before.

He can be heard in the classroom and so can contribute independently to discussions and whole group work, rather than having to having to rely on the voice of his [one-to-one teaching assistant]. This too has helped his confidence.

He can be more independent as we now feel more confident that we will hear him if he needs help – rather than having to keep him in sight at all times.”

Read more and see short video.

6 thoughts on "Child’s voice amplifier"

  1. Lisette Caronia says:

    I have a hardly used voice amplifier. Can I donate it?

    1. jim knight says:

      Hi Lisette,
      I am chair of Remap in Kent and we have just had a request for a voice amplifier for a child. If yours is still available,We would be very grateful to have it. If you reply, I can send you my address, or if you are near Kent I can collect. Many thanks. Jim Knight

  2. Robert Monk says:

    Lisette, thank you for your kind offer. It is impossible to predict if we will be asked to make a similar project again, and so whether we would have a use for it. You might do better to offer it on sites like:

  3. Graham Legg says:

    Have you tried throat micophones?

  4. Robert Monk says:

    Graham, the client is experimenting with different microphones, so i will pass your suggestion on to them

  5. Niall says:

    Good point, we did try a throat microphone initially but it seemed to distort the client’s voice too much. It is of course possible that the one we tried was not the most suitable one.

    Happily I have just found out that the client has had a lot of success with a microphone/headset that loops over the ears and the microphone rests quite close to the side of the client’s face.

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