School classrooms are learning environments where children gather 50-90 percent of information through hearing alone.
So it’s not surprising that the better children hear, the easier it is for them to learn.
New Zealand research into classroom acoustics found that classroom noise is a problem for most children and most teachers.
In fact sometimes the background noise was higher than the teacher’s voice, making listening and learning extremely difficult.
Classroom noise causes problems for all children, regardless of their hearing ability.
However, because children’s brains are not fully developed for listening until they are in their early teenage years, primary school age children find it much harder to correctly hear their teacher’s voice.
They can miss key words, phrases and concepts in poor listening conditions and don’t really understand the words that have been spoken.
International research has shown that children with ‘mild’ hearing loss have twelve times the risk of educational failure than their normal hearing peers.
Research has shown a wide range of children are at high risk of educational failure, due to poor classroom acoustics, including children with:
Classrooms can be designed or renovated to provide good listening conditions. For this to happen, school planners and architects must begin with good acoustics in mind.
The best way to solve acoustics problems is to prevent them beforehand, not correct them later.
During the design process, acoustics problems can usually be avoided with a bit of forethought and a different arrangement of the same building materials. Renovation of poorly designed classrooms is much more expensive.