A classroom is not a place for children with sensitive ears. They are bothered by the noise from the other children who speak all at once and move their chairs back and forth because they need to pick up a pencil off the floor or just cannot sit still.
A study conducted by the Oldenburg University in Germany confirmed that too many classrooms are much too noisy. The noise during a regular lesson at a primary school was measured at levels between 70 and 77 dB.
The noise adversely affects the level of concentration among the children, a problem which is exacerbated in children who suffer from hearing loss to begin with. In comparison, the recommended maximum noise level in a workplace is 55 dB, to avoid decreased concentration levels.
"Circumstances in which normal hearing children must strain to pick up the voice of the teacher because of background noise, the task becomes virtually impossible for a hearing impaired child," says Gerhard Hillig of Forum Besser Hören. Both parents and teachers must be aware of children with hearing problems who might have trouble keeping up and who may fall behind in the class.
A number of steps may be taken to lessen the noise and improve the acoustics of a classroom, including:
- Adding felt pads under table and chair legs
- Timely upkeep of furnishings - fix squeaky drawers and uneven chairs or tables
- Adding curtains or blinds
- Cork covering and bulletin boards on walls
- Sound absorbing carpeting
Source: Forum Besser Hören, June 2004
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