Expert advice on overcoming the challenge of excessive noise
Where does classroom noise originate? Depending on the individual classroom’s situation there may be many different sources, such as:
- Outside the building – for example cars or lawnmowers
- Inside the building – students talking in the hallway
- Sounds from inside the classroom – such as air conditioners and students in the room
Reverberation in a classroom is how sound acts after it first happens. Soundwaves stay in the classroom, and bounce off desks or walls – in general, any hard surface. If there are a lot of hard surfaces reflecting sound waves the teaching space can be very loud, and sounds can appear ‘muddled’.
The effects of excessive noise on teachers and students
Too much classroom noise can cause discomfort for students and teachers. Students may experience learning difficulties, and teachers may suffer from irreversible health issues. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a maximum noise level in classrooms of 35 dB, yet 50% of schools average 70 dB. That’s double the WHO’s recommendations and an uncomfortable audial experience for students and teachers.
When there is too much noise in a classroom, it can cause problems with how a student:
- Understands speech
- Reads and spells
- Behaves in the classroom
- Pays attention, and
Not only are high levels of noise detrimental to the learning abilities of students, but noise can also cause hearing loss and tinnitus in teachers. Recent studies found that:
- Seven out of ten preschool teachers suffered from sound-induced auditory fatigue.
- One out of two had difficulty following speech.
- Four out of ten had become hypersensitive to sound.
Noise in classrooms leads to increased stress, and the teacher has to raise their voice to be heard. Students also talk louder and louder to be heard over other classroom noise. This increase in volume can be detrimental to the hearing of everyone in the room in the long term. It also makes the classroom an uncomfortable and unpleasant place to be.
Classroom noise management is essential for all students, but is even more important if the student:
- Has hearing loss in one or both ears
- Suffers an ear infection or fluid in the ear
- Has a learning disability
- Suffers from speech and language delay
- Has an auditory processing disorder
- Has attention problems, or
- Speaks a first language other than what is typically spoken at their school.
So what can be done to reduce the harmful effects of noise in the classroom?
Classroom management strategies for noise
The good news is there are many solutions to help improve classroom acoustics, such as:
- Installing acoustic products including:
- Placing carpet or rugs in the room
- Hanging curtains or blinds on the windows
- Hanging soft materials such as felt or corkboard on the walls
- Turning off noisy equipment when not in use
- Replacing noisy light fixtures
- Showing students how hard it can be when many children speak at the same time
- Placing soft tips on the bottom of chairs and tables
Talk to Avenue about classroom soundproofing solutions
The information in the article is generic and not specific to your classroom.
So if you’d like more information on how to improve your classroom, please contact Avenue Interior Systems today on 1300 827 177 or get in touch with us online.