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Too loud to learn: Do schools ignore the impact of noise pollution on kids?

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – Maureen Downey

“Research has long shown that when noise levels in schools go up, learning goes down. Noise distracts and disrupts, making it harder to listen, focus, work, concentrate and yes, learn. As sound expert Julian Treasure makes clear in his TED Talk Why Architects Need to Use Their Ears, most buildings are designed for our eyes and not for our ears. The result is buildings that significantly impair and interfere with the very thing we are trying to do in them ­– whether it be work in an office, healing in a hospital or learning in a school. More sensitive to noise than adults, children in loud classrooms lag behind those in less noisy ones in terms of speech perception, expressive word learning, and learning how to read. Children experiencing learning, behavioral, socio-emotional or linguistic challenges are particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of noise. Not surprisingly, noise is negatively associated with achievement on standardized tests. Students are not the only victims of noise, as teachers in loud classrooms are more likely to suffer from vocal strain associated with trying to talk over the noise.”(more)

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