Exploring the effect of noisy educational spaces on students
It is vital to ensure that educational spaces, such as classrooms, are acoustically sound. Failing to do so not only impacts the learning ability of students, but also adds unnecessary vocal distress to teachers.
The recommended noise level for a classroom is 35 decibels – yet the average recorded noise level of classrooms is 65 decibels. This level has been proven to have adverse effects on the health and academic performance of students.
It’s little wonder then to discover that noisier classrooms affect kids’ learning ability for the worse.
How a quieter classroom promotes better student outcomes
Noisy classrooms result in a lower student skill level than quieter classrooms. Attending a 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.
By contrast, 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 both students and teachers – and can even increase students’ earning power of when they have finished school.
It’s incredible to think about how the noise level of your school’s classroom in Prep could impact the entire life of your student. The cost of providing a quality acoustic environment is not high compared to the potential ongoing economic loss suffered by many students.
How children and adults perceive speech intelligibility differently
What a child hears in a noisy environment is different from what an adult hears, since adults tend to have better perception than children. That’s why the adult experience cannot be relied upon when assessing student experience and understanding.
As an example, think of a conversation you have had as an adult in a noisy environment. Once the discussion has started, you could still understand the context and even pre-empt the words the speaker is going to say. A child does not develop this ability until their early teenage years – which means every word spoken to a child is essential.
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. 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.
This is why primary and early secondary classrooms must be acoustically treated to foster continued development in this area.
How to identify poor acoustics
To find out whether your classroom or other educational space has poor acoustics, download the free app “Decibel” or Sound Meter for Android from the app store. Visit a range of classrooms from your school, such as:
- Prep classroom
- Grade 6 classroom
- Multipurpose hall
…and don’t forget the staff room!
Take a reading when these rooms are empty, then take another reading when they’re full of people. Is the noise of an entire classroom above the recommended noise level noted above? If it is, this will have detrimental impacts on both students and teachers.
What you can do about poor classroom acoustics
The first step to improving your classroom’s acoustics is to engage an acoustic engineer such as Avenue’s sister company AcousTech to complete a noise assessment. The engineer will recommend which of Avenue’s third-party tested and accredited products will be ideal for your situation.
Avenue will then design, manufacture and install your noise control solution. We understand that life in the school world is hectic. So we can arrange to complete your installation outside of school hours – even on weekends – to limit the disruption to your weekly routine.
Talk to Avenue about soundproofing solutions for classrooms
If you’d like to find out more about acoustic design for educational facilities we invite you to download our eBook about designing acoustically sound classrooms.
For more information, contact the Avenue team today on 1300 827 177 or get in touch with us online.