Key Terms to Consider
Below are the factors in a classroom used by audiologists and speech-language pathologists when discussing classroom acoustics and educational audiology. All of these aspects of acoustics can affect any student's ability to learn and the teacher's ability to teach:
Background Noise, also referred to as ambient noise, can be generated externally or internally.
Externally generated background noise includes things like the lawn mower, outside traffic, and children playing during recess. This type of background noise usually travels into the classroom mostly through open windows or single-pane windows that are poorly insulated. Many classrooms in older buildings also have older windows that do not prevent externally generated noise from traveling in. Usually the windows are not ideally located, where there is a whole row of windows on one side of a classroom. Classrooms that do not have air conditioning may need to have open windows at times, which brings on a bombardment of externally generated noises.
Internally generated background noise includes things like heating and cooling systems, wall or ceiling fans, the hum of lights, computer noises, hallway traffic, and paper shuffling. It is created within the school or classroom, and this type of noise easily multiplies to distracting levels of background noise. The average classroom has between 18 to 25 students, and when you think of all the noise one student can make, and then multiply that by 20, the noise increases to intensity to the point where it competes with the teacher's voice and the students' attention.