University of Edinburgh

Classroom Acoustics

Part three

To back that up, this was a study done in America. They just did spelling tests and what happened? The kids in the front row – they got a good result; kids in the middle of the class got an average result but the ones at the back were doing worst. Their straight off word recognition was not good at all.

It has an impact. If you are at the back of the room you do not hear as well as at the front of the room. So that's the problem. We've been discussing this a lot; why are teachers not aware of this? And I think the answer has something to do with the fact that you cannot see poor hearing. Has anyone else come across that when you're out and about? Yes a few nodding heads. If you turned the lights off in the classroom and blocked out the windows everyone would complain. But the teachers just don't realise. It's a constant battle to get teachers to appreciate exactly what the issue is in the classroom.

It gets worse, if that wasn't a bad enough place to start. On any given day in pretty much any school in the States, and I'm assuming it's pretty much the same over here or worse sometimes depending on the location, almost a third of the children in the classroom suffer from hearing loss. I'm not saying they're deaf or they've got a severe hearing impairment but it's all that stuff that every child has; colds, flu, glue ear. All that stuff, even maybe something that hasn't been picked up on for whatever reason. You don't lose all your hearing if you've got a cold but it affects your ability to take in what the teacher's saying.

next part