Radio aids – optimising listening opportunities


Gill Weston, Cate Statham, Helen Maiden and Pauline Cobbold

with contributions by James Mander, Gary Webster, Brian Copsey


BATOD Foundation, Ewing Foundation, Big Lottery Fund

Abstract / Introduction

This MESHGuide has been designed to cover a wide range of issues associated with personal radio aid systems.  It is a resource for anyone who works with  children and young people (CYP) with hearing difficulties who may benefit from a personal radio aid.  This would include parents, mainstream teachers as well as professionals in the field of deafness.  It focuses specifically on personal radio aid systems as a learning tool for deaf children, and the issues regarding their use.

The principles supporting the use of radio aids systems for deaf children remain constant; however, the manufacturers are committed to developing and improving each device.  The technical advances in assistive listening technology enable deaf children, their families and staff in educational settings to develop the use of radio aid systems to maximum advantage.

It aims to be an unbiased source of the latest thinking and research and present relevant case studies on the use of radio aids.  It covers what radio aids are, why and how they are used; connection to other technologies; the various types and makes available, with links to manufacturers and other websites.

Radio aids are a specific form of the wider range of Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) which are currently available.  Other forms of ALDs are beyond the scope of this particular MESHGuide.  Due to the wealth of different ALD devices available this MESHGuide will focus specifically on the personal radio aid systems, which are widely used for CYP for developing spoken language and in education.

Strength of Evidence

There is collective research, knowledge and practice from BATOD members and others involved in deaf education  showing the benefit of radio aid technology in the UK and throughout the world particularly from US, Europe and Australasia quoted in the references section.  Advances in technology have helped to overcome the problems of listening to speech in background noise and at a distance.  The evidence presented shows how this has improved the access to speech for deaf children and young people.

Deafness and Hearing Impairment affect children’s access to education all over the world.  We have strived to remain unbiased against anyone make or type of system, and tried to provide a range of evidence from across the range  We welcome further case studies, using any system and device.  Please send these to

Please also include areas you would like researched.

Transferability across countries and settings

The collected information and advice is intended to encourage and provide evidence for the provision of the use of radio aids for all deaf children.

Although there are difficulties worldwide, regarding financial constraints, availability and sustainability of technology, the evidence shows that hearing devices alone are not giving full access to speech intelligibility for deaf children.  Whatever device or system is used, the basic principles are the same.

Date of publication
12 Mar 2018
Date of revision
12 Mar 2018
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