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Classroom Background Noise

Background noise in classrooms can influence a student’s ability to learn. Many children with sensory processing disorder in particular can be distracted by different noises. Frequently classroom seating accommodations are suggested based on the student’s ability to stay on task. Some recent research indicated that students who spent time in louder classrooms performed worse on tests. Sound levels were taken in classrooms when they were empty to compare the different rooms that the tests were taken in. Therefore, the sound levels were only background noise that influenced the test scores.

Did you know that the recommendation for classroom background noise should not exceed 35 decibels? This research showed that for optimal performance on a test, the sound level should be at 28 decibels (the level of a whisper).

This data is from during test taking but makes me wonder about everyday learning. What about classrooms that are participating in group learning? The decibel level is more like 50-65 (loud conversation). Curious to see research on understanding of material in louder classrooms.

Reference: Braconnier, D. Study shows background noise affects test scores. Retrieved from the web on 11/12/11 from http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-11-background-noise-affects-scores.html