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Conference_programme: 14.2 - Harmonisation of classroom acoustics standards in Europe

Lecture: Importance of sound absorption in learning environments and varying regulations in Scandinavian countries

Author(s): Schöner Georg

In an effort to improve the learning environment for future generations, many countries have acoustic requirements for educational buildings included in their regulations. This is due to the fact that among other things, excessively noisy conditions can impact a student’s health, the way they think and their overall academic performance.\nCompared with adults, children already struggle with their complex listening skills as they are still developing their language skills. This demands a quieter environment for children to perform certain assignments. Exposer to noise polluted classrooms can hurt a child’s speech, listening and reading ability, their concentration and memory. For example, a research team in France found that for every 10-dB increase in noise pollution, 8-9 year-old students performed 5.5 points lower on their national standardized test [Allen, J.G., et al, 2017]. And a team in Denmark found that 30.7% of the students say that they can only "pretty much" hear what is being said during class [Dansk Center for Undervisningsmiljø, 2013].\nWhether employing the classical teaching method or a more dynamic and collaborative learning environment, having the right noise levels in the classroom is important. It influences a teacher’s ability to impart knowledge, where an American study found that 50% of teachers have suffered irreversible damage to their voices due to the Lombard effect [BIAMP Systems whitepaper], and a student’s ability to learn. \nMonolithic and suspended ceiling solutions, wall absorbers and islands exist today to manage the reverberation time in rooms to create comfortable interactive environments for group learning. Additionally, with the use of strategically placed reflective surfaces, one can enhance speech intelligibility without sacrificing acoustic comfort. This enables the students in the back of the classroom to hear what is being said by a teacher in the front.\nGeorg’s presentation will focus in more detail on these interior acoustics insights from schools and how varying Danish, Swedish and Norwegian building requirements focus on creating a better learning environment.

Corresponding author

Name: Mr Georg Schöner

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Country: Denmark