Related Case StudiesName: Matjaž
Occupation: Associate Professor
Matjaž is an associate professor at a University. He has a hearing impairment. He uses hearing aids and assistive listening devices to enable him to hear sounds. He is an advanced, daily user of AT. He uses AT at work, at home, socially and in transit and has a firm belief that AT should be used in public without embarrassment, as required. It is AT that has helped him become a professor.
Matjaž uses an extensive range of AT solutions ranging from the simple; hearing aids and email, to the more complex; Induction loops and computers, running specialised e-learning and conferencing software, that help him in his teaching work.
The hearing related AT or ALD he uses are a T-coil equipped hearing aid, FM system and Induction loop with microphone. These enable him hear sound when a hearing aid is not enough. When teaching a class he uses an FM system with a microphone in the middle of the room, this expands the range of hearing and comprehension with the students. At home, he uses an induction loop with his Telecoil equip hearing aid to enable him hear radio and television. When using his mobile phone, he uses a system which connects his phone to his hearing aid. With a microphone this allows hands free communication.
Aside from assistive listening devices, Matjaž uses modern computer software that enables collaboration between students and professor (e.g. NetMeeting, NetOP, Moodle and MS SharePoint portal). These are e-learning and conferencing systems which allow distance learning. With distance learning, Matjaž can supervise and teach without needing to be present with the student or students.
Matjaž is naturally curious and technically minded. He fine tuned his hearing aid himself and shared his experience with an audio technician. He prefers to teach himself how to install and use new AT and finds most AT user friendly. He uses the internet to find out about AT. He has also used the internet to buy AT, such as his mobile phone system and his home induction loop.
Funding for his AT has come from mixed sources. State health insurance paid a small proportion of the cost towards his hearing aid and will not contribute towards any other AT. The assistive listening systems used in class and his home computer setup were paid for by the ministry of education, with the application made by his faculty. His faculty also provided his home computer setup and internet connection. His personal assistive listening devices were self funded.
Matjaž feels AT has greatly enhanced his quality of life and cannot imagine his life without AT. Without it he would be “cut off”, with it he feels he has achieved full social interaction and integration. AT has enabled him to become an associate professor. He is a big fan of email as an accessible and inclusive technology.
Matjaž would advise all hearing impaired persons not to be afraid to use AT in public; “they should use it completely and everywhere they might need it. It is their right to do so and it is the obligation of the society to assist and make feasible for us a normal life and working environment.”