Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an FM system?

For people who are hard of hearing, an FM system can be used in a classroom to amplify the voice of the professor. The system is an individual piece of technology that the student will use. It consists of a FM transmitter/microphone that the speaker will wear and a FM receiver/headphone that the listener will use.

What do they look like?

The FM transmitter and the FM receiver are both small, portable devices that are a little bit bigger than a pack of playing cards. The look can vary depending on the manufacturer. 

How does it work?

The speaker can clip the microphone to their shirt (near their mouth) and have their voice transmitted to the listener’s receiver, where it will be amplified through the headphones.

What do I need to do as the speaker?

The listener will deliver the device and microphone to you before your presentation. Ensure that the device is on by looking at the power indicator light. Plug in the microphone to the microphone jack and clip the microphone to the top of your shirt, near your mouth. You are now ready to give your presentation.

While you are wearing the FM transmitter, you may want to have a private conversation with a student in the class. On the FM transmitter, you can hold the power button to turn the device off completely, or you can press the power button once to mute your microphone. When you need to address the entire class again, you can turn on or unmute the device.

Also, be sure to repeat questions or comments that other students address to the whole class. The FM system will amplify your voice, but not everyone else’s. If you do not repeat the comment, the student with the FM system may not hear it.

What do I need to do as the listener?

Become comfortable with how the FM system works as a whole. You may need a presenter to use this system who has never seen one before and you may need to explain some aspects to them.

Before going to the class, be sure that the FM transmitter and FM receiver are on the same frequency. This process can differ depending on the FM system model. Be sure to consult the user guide or the SDS office if you need help doing this.

Give the FM transmitter to the speaker before the presentation starts so they have time to put it on.

Where can I borrow an FM receiver?

Please contact the DS office:

Disability Services 
University Crossing
220 Pawtucket Street, Suite #300
Lowell MA 01854-5144
Phone:  978-934-4574
Fax: 978-934-2032