Classroom Acoustics

Listening-friendly classrooms help kids learn

Audiologists work with schools to improve classroom acoustics.

Audiologists are hearing health professionals with expertise in assessing and treating a broad range of hearing and balance disorders in people of all ages.

At any given point in the school year, up to 1 in 5 elementary school students have temporary, mild hearing loss (from middle ear fluid or infections).

Create a listening-friendly classroom

  • Reduce external classroom noise (close windows and doors, turn off noisy equipment)

  • Hang sound-absorbing material, such as felt, corkboard or artwork on classroom walls and on the ceiling

  • Place soft coverings on chair and table legs

  • Use rugs or carpets as floor coverings

  • Place classroom furniture at an angle to the walls

  • Consider a classroom audio distribution device

  • Ensure that newly-constructed classrooms meet building standards for proper classroom acoustics (such as ANSI/ASA S12.60-2010)

Classroom Audio Distribution Device

While not a substitute for good classroom acoustics, classroom audio distribution devices ensure an even distribution of sound. A classroom audio distribution device uses a microphone to amplify the teacher’s voice using speakers throughout the classroom. Sound field systems can improve the learning environment for all students, not just those with hearing loss. An audiologist can help you determine whether a classroom audio distribution device is appropriate for your classroom and work with the school to ensure the system is evaluated regularly.

Good Classroom Acoustics

  • Help children hear and understand their teachers and peers
  • Lead to improved academic performance, attention, comprehension, classroom behavior and overall sense of well-being

Additional Resources

Position Paper on Classroom Acoustics
Classroom Acoustics Poster
Classroom Acoustics Info-Sheet
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