Is the Sound Right for Sound Learning? A study on classroom noise
Gaia Fameli
Prince of Wales Secondary
Floor Location : M 018 H

School plays a crucial role in an individual's life as it opens the doors to possibilities and lays the foundations from which one can grow. Therefore, it is baffling that sometimes learning takes place in poorly designed classrooms and that guidelines to create the best learning environment for students are not implemented.

From my initial research in the scientific literature, there is increasing evidence that poor room acoustics can negatively affect one’s learning. For example, the ability to focus on speech in the presence of background noise does not fully mature until ages 13 to 15, which suggests that younger students require a better acoustical environment than adults to achieve the same word recognition score. For this reason, teachers may not be aware of their student’s troubles with understanding speech, and hence learning/acquiring new knowledge, in noisy situations and generally under poor acoustics conditions.
My own experience and my preliminary reading lead me to the question: Does the noise in my classroom exceed the recommendations set by the world health organization?

I hypothesized that my school will exceed the noise level recommendations set by the WHO. I also hypothesize that the excess level of noise is not only due to students’ loudness, but also to sound reverberation.

I investigated the acoustic environment in my school by recording noise levels during class and measuring reverberation. I employed a smartphone app to measure sound levels in three classes and record data in files. Results show that on average noise levels surpassed recommendations set by the World Health Organization (WHO).