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March 06, 2008

School noise hard on pupils

Noise levels at school are much too high. The children become tired, unfocused and stressed and have a hard time hearing what is being said.

On average, school children are exposed to sound levels between 65 and 75 dB on a regular school day. This was one of the findings of a study conducted in three classrooms in Uppsala, Sweden, over 150 days. Some days, average noise levels reached as high as 80 dB, the level when workers in the industry must use hearing protection.

Low energy

Too much noise in school zaps the pupils of energy. This is particularly true among children already suffering from hearing loss.

”Hearing impaired children have significantly higher difficulty in keeping up in such an environment,” said Robert Wålinder, a researcher at Arbets och Miljömedicin in Uppsala.

Some children go right to sleep after school due to exhaustion. Other effects of high noise levels include increased blood pressure and build-up in the body of stress hormones.

In one class, the children were given hearing protection for the times when they needed to work independently in class. Another solution is to fit the classrooms with noise dampening materials and furniture.

The behaviour of the children also affects noise levels. Several children speaking at a time and voices being raised to be heard over the others can greatly worsen the conditions in the classroom.

Source: Auris

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