As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we have been reviewing an innovative product to help with Hannah's speech. She had delays in speech due to hearing issues that hadn't been diagnosed until she was almost 4 years old. We had realized her speech wasn't as advanced as her sisters' had been at that age, but we didn't realize that she wasn't hearing us properly. Once it was discovered that she had hard wax packed in her ear canal and up against her ear drum, we got it cleaned out and she started making great progress. However, even recently her speech wasn't clear and appeared delayed. When the opportunity arose with the Schoolhouse Review Crew to try out this bone conduction headset from Forbrain - Sound For Life Ltd, my husband and I jumped at the chance to try this product to help Hannah.
Even though we used the Forbrain to help with Hannah's speech delays, this product can be used to help with other issues as well. It is also meant to help improve memory, attentiveness, reading comprehension, and the quality of your voice. The Forbrain site explains in greater detail different applications for the product. Forbrain uses the voice of the person who is wearing the headset. The user will speak into the high quality microphone which will then travel through the dynamic filter and on to the bone conduction transducers that are placed on the bone right in front of the user's ear canal (not over the ear canal). This direct path of the sound from the mouth to the bone without having to travel through the air helps to reduce distraction and give the user a clear, pure sound of their voice.
Here, let's take a look at the product:
Forbrain comes with everything you see pictured above: the Forbrain headset, extra microphone pads, a USB cable, instruction booklets, and case.
First I opened the box, then I opened up the black, protective case. The actual headset sits in a cushioned section of the case, and there is a compartment for the USB charging cable in the center. The information pamphlets and extra microphone pads are stored behind the netting on the opposite side of the case.
As you can see, it is well protected. This is quite important, seeing as this product is worth $359. The children know that only mommy and daddy are allowed to take the headset out of the case. As soon as we are done with our session for the day, it is placed back in the case, which I then store in the box it came in, plus the cardboard box. I don't feel I am being too overly protective, because I know how easy it is for things to become destroyed with young ones in the house.
The first thing we had to do after receiving Forbrain, was to use the USB cable to plug the headset into the computer to charge it. It took 3 hours to charge. The instructions state that the headset has a battery life of more than 6 hours when in operation.
I place the headset on Hannah and then press the on/off button which is toward the front of the bottom of the dynamic filter. There are buttons which will adjust the volume; however, it is already set to an optimal volume and they do not recommend changing it unless your hearing is very poor or hypersensitive.
This headset will wrap around the back of the head and then the curved ends will hook over the ears so that the bone conduction transducers are sitting in the correct position. We did have to play with it a bit to make sure it was fitting Hannah properly because the headset is one size fits all. At first I was wondering how that would work, but the hubby and I have had the headset on our heads and Hannah has worn it regularly with very few issues. There have been a couple of times where Hannah needs to readjust the set as it seems to have fallen a bit. As you can see, it actually hangs by the back of her neck, where with myself and my husband, it will be higher up on the head. She is also constantly adjusting the microphone. I need to keep reminding her to keep her hands down and leave it where it is.
We have been using Forbrain with Hannah while she works on poetry recitation, Bible memory work, and reading aloud time. She will recite all of her poems, and I will correct any mispronunciations and encourage her to say them correctly. There are stills some sounds she can not make, such as the /th/ sound. However, as that is normal for her age I do not worry about it too much. I do make sure to say it correctly and have her repeat it.
She then repeats her memory verses. Then we will sit on the couch and I will have her read her beginning reader.
My husband and I have both noticed that wearing the Forbrain headset helps Hannah to concentrate on what she is saying. She makes sure to articulate the ending sound in the words a lot better than when she isn't wearing it. Just tonight I decided to try something different. I had her read some of her book with the headset on and then read some with it off. She made more mistakes without the headset on and I am not sure why, but she was suddenly sounding out words she knows, such as "cat." I was a bit confused about that to tell you the truth. When we first took the headset off, she was articulating well, but by the time we reached the end of the book, her voice had gotten lower and her words weren't as clear.
I know I am hoping that the Forbrain will help her so that her speech will be improved even when she is not wearing it. Now, it does state that a session is 6-10 weeks, and we have only had the Forbrain for about 6 weeks. It is recommended to use Forbrain at least 15 minutes a day in children ages 5-15. Younger children will benefit from 10 minutes a day, while older children, teens, and adults will benefit from 20 minutes a day.
Hannah really enjoys her time and looks forward to using the headset. Her father and I are quite impressed by the results thus far and will continue using it with her. In fact, I may just start using the headset with the older girls as well, to help with concentration and memory. I am going to allow Tabitha to wear the Forbrain headset while taking the reading comprehension portion of her standardized testing. As it is meant to improve focus and concentration, I figure she can read the passages aloud to see if it helps her. Harold may even benefit in using it for his speech.
I have had thought of wearing it myself, but I am afraid of getting headaches from the way the sound comes through the dynamic filter. Though I would love to see if it would help my singing.
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