Empirical research indicates that children and teachers in German primary schools are exposed to mean sound levels of between 65 and 87dB(A) and peak sound levels of 100dB(A), which may lead to hearing loss and mental health problems.
The survey showed that teachers experience the highest sound levels in the schoolyard, corridors and classrooms. 68% of teachers are annoyed by the noise. Teachers over 45 years of age in particular suffer from sleep disturbances (44%) and 90% of the full-time employees are tired and exhausted in the evening.
Increase in complaints
Work is judged as physically and mentally strenuous by 51% of the whole sample and 81% of the older teachers report a significant increase in complaints about noise with increasing years of professional activity.
Work-related noise may contribute to physical and mental health problems in teachers as well as hearing loss.
The findings are based on a questionnaire containing 13 targeted questions about noise and sensitivity to noise distributed to teachers aged between 25 and 64 years at five different primary schools in the Cologne municipal area. The survey comprised younger and older teachers and part- and full-time occupation.