OPINION: A less noisy classroom equals a better learning environment

The author has for the past 40 years conducted research and written on the adverse impacts of noise on mental and physical health, advised community groups on how to advocate for less noise in their areas, and worked with legislators concerned about lowering the decibel levels around us.

Today, we generally accept the statement that noise can impede a child’s speech acquisition, cognition and learning ability. However, have we done all we could to lower the decibel level in classrooms?

Designers and architects planning schools should consider acoustic tiles for ceilings as well as quieter chairs and tables. Should a gymnasium and a library be situated side by side? Doors should be designed with materials that would make it less likely for those passing in the hallways to be heard in the classrooms. Noise levels of cooling and heating units should also be considered when purchased.

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