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Forbrain: Sound for Life Headset Review by Dawn Oaks

Forbrain – Sound for Life Ltd.
5801 Milano Dr
Plano, TX 75093
http://www.forbrain.com

From the moment I knew that our family would be receiving the Forbrain – Sound for Life headset, the wheels in my brain began to really turn as to how we would push it to the limits.  The company’s website touted that it had applications for short term memory improvements, increases in attention span, clarification of vocal patterns and speech clarity, and targeted response in the area of reading comprehension. My background in music therapy as well as being a homeschool mom to a child with some special learning needs, laid the ground work for being intrigued by what this device would accomplish.

When the package arrived in the mail, we found the headset exactly as pictured on the company’s website. It came in a specially designed hard-shell case with a foam insert that provides optimal protection of the device when not in use.  Also in the package was a charging cable, user guide, and educational support guide. In the event that there is a problem, the company offers a 2 year warranty.  They are so confident that you will see the benefits of using the device that they also offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee within the first 30 days.

The Forbrain – Sound for Life device is most definitely not your regular headset.  A lot of scientific research has been done leading to its development.  Forbrain is an internationally based company with offices here in the US.  This is important as researchers and scientists from around the globe have contributed to this design.  The research spans the academic areas of speech development, auditory processing, and the cross over into the realm of reading and reading comprehension.  The outcome is this specialized headset that utilizes bone conduction as well as the auditory feedback loop to impact the benefits identified above.

We chose to use this primarily with our teenage son.  When he was just a year old, he suffered significant hearing loss due to repetitive ear infections.  During one of the episodes, his left eardrum ruptured.  As he got older, he no longer experienced difficulties with ear infections, but his full hearing was not restored.  His speech was significantly delayed.  As he matured, we found that he struggled some with word finding skills.  His struggles with reading were further compounded by issues with visual tracking, split dominance processing, and dyslexia.  We invested an incredible amount of hours in various therapies.  Now in his teenage years, dyslexia is no longer an issue and we have found methods and coping skills to compensate for some of the other struggles.  However, we have always wondered how much of our son’s challenges related back to his ear infections when he was a baby.

The Forbrain headset does utilize bone conduction.  This is significant in that if there were something anatomically or functionally wrong with the parts of the ear, the vibrations upon the bones behind the ear would enhance hearing.  A regular headset that simply projected louder or clearer sounds into the auditory canal would not have the same impact if the parts of the ear were not working as they should.

From an educational standpoint, I absolutely fell in love with the fact that my son was literally hearing his own voice played back through the headset.  The design of the device actually reduces the background or environmental noise.  I think this aspect is huge.  My son was now able to read his schoolwork outload and hear himself as he read.  This took his reading assignments from simply a visual exercise to also tapping into his auditory learning abilities.  I love whenever we can take learning to a multi-sensory approach and the Forbrain headset allowed us to do that.

So what did we conclude?  Our son’s reading comprehension and attention to what he read definitely increased.  As a result, his confidence in his schoolwork as well as interest in discussing the content of his reading increased as well.  My observations were further confirmed when I had one day picked up the headset and put it away.  He came looking for it! He realized that his learning and ability to accomplish his work were greater when using the Forbrain headset.

The materials that accompanied the device suggested that it be used for about 20 minutes a day.  As my son realized that it was helping, he wanted to use it for greater periods of time.  However, we found that there truly was a reason for this recommendation.  The device is helping to build new auditory pathways in the brain.  For this reason, it can be exhausting and taxing to use it too much too quickly.  We became very targeted in how we chose to use it to help maximize the benefits from its use.  Over time, he did find that he was able to use it for longer periods of time or for multiple 20 minute sessions per day.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about this device.  The information on the Forbrain website is definitely not a bunch of marketing spin.  We would highly recommend this device to those with hearing, speech, reading, or attention deficit issues.  I could also see remarkable applications for vocal performers.  As a matter of fact, I am sure that this list is far from exhaustive in identifying the various individuals that would benefit from a Forbrain – Sound for Life headset.  I really wonder what the implications would be for nonverbal individuals who are just beginning to overcome barriers in expressing themselves.

 

-Product review by Dawn Oaks, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2016

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