In educational spaces, such as a classroom, it is vital to make sure they are acoustically sound. If your facilities are not acoustically sound, you are not only impacting the learning ability of your students but adding unnecessary vocal distress to your teachers.
Why classrooms need good acoustics
The average noise level of a classroom is 65 decibels, and this has proven to have adverse effects on the health and academic performance of students. The recommended noise level for a classroom is 35 decibels.
Research has shown that quieter classrooms improve academic performance, reduce stress for teachers and result in better student behaviour. A good classroom experience leads to increased productivity and creates a better quality of life for students and teachers.
Good classroom experience can increase the earning power of students when they have finished school. The cost of providing a quality acoustic environment is not high compared to the potential ongoing economic loss suffered by the student. Noisy classrooms result in a lower skill level than a quieter classroom. The noisy classroom in early childhood and adolescence can result in a diminished earning capacity and salary, causing significant loss to an individual as their life progresses.
It is incredible to think about how the noise level of your school’s classroom in Prep could impact the entire life of your student.
Children and adults perceive speech intelligibility differently
Adults tend to have better perceptions than children. What a child hears in a noisy environment is different from what an adult hears. The ability to understand and process speech against competing background noise doesn’t mature until adolescence.
Children under 13 are still developing word recognition and comprehension. Primary and early secondary classrooms must be acoustically treated to foster continued development in this area. Therefore, the adult experience cannot be relied upon when assessing student experience and understanding
For example: Think of a conversation you have had in a noisy environment. Once the discussion has started, you can still understand the context and even preempt the words the speaker is going to say. Whereas, a child does not develop this ability until their early teenage years. Every word spoken to a child is essential.
If a child needs to exert extra effort to hear their teacher over background noise or poor acoustics, their understanding of the teacher’s message will be distorted.
How to identify poor acoustics
- Download “Decibel” from the app store. It is free! Or Sound Meter for Android. Visit a range of classrooms from your school, for example:
- Prep Classroom
- Grade 6 Classroom
- Multipurpose hall
- Don’t forget the staff room
- Take a reading when the classroom is empty, then take another reading when it is full of people – is the noise of an entire classroom above the recommended noise level noted above? If it is, there are detrimental impacts on your students and teachers.
What you need to:
- Engage an acoustic engineer such as AcousTech to complete a noise assessment
- The AcousTech engineer will recommend a company with third-party tested and accredited products such as Avenue Interior Systems
- Avenue Interior Systems will design, manufacture and install your noise control solution
- Installation – If you work with Avenue Interior Systems, we understand life in the school world is hectic. We can arrange to complete installation outside of school hours, even on weekends, to limit the disruption to your weekly routine.
For more information about acoustic design for educational facilities, contact us on 1300 827 177 or download our eBook, designing acoustically sound classrooms.