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Acoustic Impact in Education

Several studies have found that environmental noise has an adverse effect on students learning.

Here are five reasons you should hire an acoustical consultation for your project.

  1. A study in the early 1970s looked at the performance of children in a New York school that was parallel to the tracks of an elevated train. Students on the noisy side lagged in reading. After the train tracks were treated, reading levels of children improved (Arline Bronzaft, 1981,The effect of a noise abatement program on reading ability, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Volume 1, Issue 3, September 1981, Pages 215-222, Available online 8 July 2005.)

  2. A 1982 study of students in New York schools under and not under flight paths found that high levels of environmental noise were inversely related to reading ability in elementary school children (Green, K. B., et. al (1982) Effects of aircraft noise on reading ability of school-age children. Archives of Environmental Health, 37, 24-31.)

  3. A study of schools near Munich Airport looked found an increased children impairment in reading comprehension in schools near the airport.
    (Hygge, S. (1997). The effects of combined noise sources on long-term memory in children aged 12-14 years. In A. Schick & M. Klatte (Eds.), Contributions to psychological acoustics: Results of the Seventh Oldenburg Symposium on Psychological Acoustics (pp. 483-501). Oldenburg, Germany: Bibliotheks-und Informationsystem der Universitat Oldenburg).

  4. A study assessing aircraft and traffic noise exposure for 2,844 children ages 9 to 10 in 89 schools located in the UK, Spain, and the Netherlands in 2002 found that exposure to aircraft noise caused a significant impairment in reading comprehension and a noticeable effect of exposure to road traffic noise on information and conceptual recall (Matheson M P, Stansfeld S A, Haines M M. The effects of chronic aircraft noise exposure on children's cognition and health : 3 field studies. Noise Health 2003;5:31-40).

  5. Teachers who work in noisy classrooms must constantly raise their voices to be heard over various other sounds. Over time, this can lead to vocal fatigue and other voice problems. One study found that four out of five teachers who participated in the study indicated some problems with vocal fatigue. (Gotaas, C., and Starr, C.C. 1993. Vocal fatigue among teachers. Folia Phoniatr. (Basel) 45:120-129.)

  6. A 1995 study found that teachers constitute more than 20 percent of the voice-clinic load or five times the number expected by their prevalence in this segment of the workforce. (Titze, I.R., Lemke, J., and Montequin, D. 1996. Populations in the U.S. workforce who rely on voice as a primary tool of trade. NCVS Status Progress Report 10:127-132.)

Source: 5 Noise, Acoustics, Student Learning, and Teacher Health. National Research Council. 2006. Review and Assessment of the Health and Productivity Benefits of Green Schools: An Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11574. Accessed from: https://www.nap.edu/read/11574/chapter/7#45 date of access: June 13, 2020.

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