Over a decade ago, research was carried out into the effects of noise on learning. 50 London schools were assessed, and their noise levels were compared with their pupils’ test results. There was a direct correlation: the noisier the school, the poorer the results.
In the decade since, a generation of new schools has been built with sound dampening suspended ceilings and walls. So now more pupils have the chance to achieve better results without the building getting in the way.
But what if you’re in an older school? What are the noise problems associated with older schools, and is there a solution that doesn’t involve demolishing and rebuilding to modern standards?
Fighting reverberation and background noise
Reverberation is, effectively, echo. In classrooms it’s a problem that forces the teacher to talk louder, but as they do so their voice echoes even more. The result is a vicious circle that makes hearing more difficult, especially for younger children. The solution lies in reducing the reverb caused by hard surfaces like glass, metal and plaster.
Background noise is any noise that isn’t the prime signal within a classroom (ie the teacher’s voice). It could be anything from the general classroom hubbub to the class next door, the sound of the traffic outside or the hum of the IT equipment. The greater the level of background noise, the greater the potential levels of stress, frustration and mishearing.
How suspended ceilings help
All suspended ceiling tiles have sound absorbing and attenuating properties. They reduce the ‘echoeyness’ within a room, prevent sound escaping, and limiting the level of noise from elsewhere.
Their capabilities can help any classroom become a more conducive environment for learning. They become quieter, less fractious places, which can benefit behaviour as well as academic progress. Teachers don’t have to shout to be heard. And children don’t have to try and filter extraneous noise before they can start learning.
Source: Judge Suspended Ceilings
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