Hearing protection at a young age is vital if we are to avoid a hearing crisis in the future.
The National Foundation for the Deaf supports ‘good sound’ and reducing risky noise in early childhood centres.
Reduce noise in your preschool
Use a Safe Sound Indicator (SSI)
The SSI is a great way to encourage children to play and learn without damaging their hearing. The ‘traffic light’ box flashes green, amber or red as classroom sound levels increase. Preschools throughout New Zealand are now using the SSI. Find out more
Add acoustic surfaces
Carpet on floors, acoustic tiles on walls and particularly on the ceiling can have a dramatic effect on controlling noise build-up and sound quality. We suggest that you get estimates from providers – this can be a very cost-effective approach.
Create some quiet zones
Use mats, remove tables and other sound-reflecting surfaces, hang some heavy curtains. Choose zones that are well removed from outside noise sources (such as traffic or construction), and don’t have local noise sources such as disturbed children, alarms or stereos.
Manage the 'café effect'
In an environment like a café (or in an early childhood centre during a rainy day when all children and adults are inside), where there are a number of groups having their own conversations, it is often difficult to be heard unless you raise your voice.
Everyone has to speak louder – and up goes the noise level. Encourage your educators to get children’s attention and speak quietly – so they have to be quiet so they can hear you. So create a ‘reverse café effect’!
Spread the word
Ensure your educators talk with children about the benefits of having quieter times, and not just at the centre, but also at home.