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Classroom noise: exposure and subjective response among pupils
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational Medicine.
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, all children must have access to education of equal value and the curriculum points out the importance of a good environment for development and learning. Modern working methods differ a lot from the traditional. Teaching nowadays is focused on problem-solving. Students are more interactive, working in groups and projects. The teacher has become a supervisor, guiding not lecturing.

Hearing loss, vegetative responses, biochemical effects, speech interference, behavioural effects and subjective reactions are all part of the problem of noise exposure. There is no unequivocal method of assessing noise and its effects. The most common method of noise assessment and appraisal of negative noise reactions is based on measurement of acoustic characteristics. Recommendations made and targets set by authorities are often stated in terms of equivalent Aweighted sound level L (A)eq.

The purposes of this thesis have been to increase knowledge of noise exposure in classrooms and the subjective response among pupils and also to identify factors of special importance when assessing negative noise effects in the classroom. The work consists of five separate articles considering different aspects of sound exposure and its adverse effects on pupils in school: three field studies, one article on development of a mood-rating instrument and one laboratory study. Analyses of exposure were based on equivalent sound levels and subjective responses were evaluated using ratings on a visual analogue scale and forced choice questions.

The results point to speech and structure-borne sounds as the most annoying sound sources to the pupils. Annoyance will increase with variability of the exposure. This is typical of the character of structure-borne sounds such as footsteps, scraping of chairs and tables and slamming of doors, as well as of speech.

The background sound level exposure levels in the classrooms ranged between 33 and 42 dB (A)eq. The background sound in about 2/3 of the classrooms investigated was considered to be LFN. Pupils exposed to high LFN levels were not more annoyed than pupils exposed to low LFN levels.

The activity sound level ranged between 47 and 69 dB(A)eq. These are levels that must be considered high for a work environment such as the school, which has at all times to be conducive to steady concentration, communication and learning. The risk of hearing damage during this exposure must be concidered as low. The thesis also describes the development of a mood-rating instrument to identify effects of noise and other aspects of the classroom environment. The questionnaire is easy to administer, takes little time to complete and is therefore well suited to studies in field settings.

The ratings of annoyance in the classroom correspond to the verbal definition “Somewhat annoying - Rather annoying”. Data from the field studies does not support the idea that the negative responce will increase with higher sound levels. In the laboratory setting, a relationship between increasing sound level and increase in rated annoyance was displayed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet , 2003. , 58 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 844
Keyword [en]
school, teaching, students, annoyance children, sound, mood
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-94109ISBN: 91-7305-460-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-94109DiVA: diva2:764091
Public defence
2003-06-05, Stora föreläsningssalen, ALI Norr, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:00
Opponent
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Note

Diss. (sammanfattning) Umeå : Umeå universitet, 2003

Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-10-03 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Annoyance and effects on work from noise at school
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Annoyance and effects on work from noise at school
2000 (English)In: Noise and Health, ISSN 1463-1741, ESSN: 1998-4030, Vol. 2, no 8, 39-46 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study is to investigate how students rate the annoyance and effects of noise in their working environment. 216 students, between the ages 13-15 years, and 12 teachers took part in this study. Sound level measurements were made for 20 minutes in the middle of a lesson for each class. On the measurement occasion the students were seated in a class room working on mathematics. Immediately after the sound level measurement, the students and the teachers filled in a questionnaire. The correlation between sound level and perceived annoyance and rated effect of noise on the students´ schoolwork was poor. The correlation between the annoyance and rated effect of noise on the students´ schoolwork was significant. Equivalent sound levels during mathematics lessons were 58-69 dB(A). Even though the sound levels were relatively high the students claimed that they were just moderately annoyed. More than 1/3 of the students claimed that the existing sound environment obstructed their work. No difference was found between boys and girls in rated annoyance and rated effect on their work. The younger students were more annoyed than the older ones. The participants claimed that chatter in the class room and scraping sounds from tables and chairs were the most annoying sound sources. The teachers shared this opinion. The concurrency between the students´ rating of their annoyance and the teachers´ rating of the students annoyance was remarkably low.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Medknow Publications, 2000
Keyword
School, noise, annoyance
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96321 (URN)12689460 (PubMedID)
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved
2. Low frequency noise and annoyance in classroom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Low frequency noise and annoyance in classroom
2000 (English)In: Journal of Low Frequency Noise Vibration and Active Control, ISSN 0263-0923, Vol. 19, no 4, 175-181 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The most common method for noise assessment is the A-weighted sound pressure level. The question has been raised as to whether the frequency weighting with an A-filter gives a correct result when assessing the annoyance response to noise containing strong low frequency noise (LFN) components. One method suggested to identify LFN is the dB(C) – dB(A) difference. The aims of this study are to investigate if background noise in Swedish elementary schools is to be considered as LFN, further to test the hypothesis that students exposed to audible LFN at high levels are more annoyed than students exposed to LFN at lower levels. The results indicate that the noise in 16 out of 22 classrooms should be considered as LFN. The analysis did not show any difference in rated annoyance between students exposed to high LFN levels and students exposed to low LFN levels.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Multi-Science Publishing, 2000
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96324 (URN)10.1260/0263092001493010 (DOI)
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
3. Evaluating effects of the class room environment: Development of an instrument for the measurement of self-reported mood among school children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Evaluating effects of the class room environment: Development of an instrument for the measurement of self-reported mood among school children
2002 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Psychology, ISSN 0272-4944, E-ISSN 1522-9610, Vol. 22, no 3, 289-293 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to develop a mood-rating instrument primarily aimed at identifying effects of noise and other aspects of the classroom environment, that probably are of importance, for the children's scholastic performance. None of the existing mood questionnaires was found to be directly applicable to the target group, viz., children in upper compulsory school in Sweden. An adjective checklist containing 45 mood-describing adjectives was constructed and answered by a group of 280 students. Thirteen of the items had a non-response rate above 10 per cent and were excluded. The remaining 32 items were subjected to factor analyses, and another group of 443 students were used to cross-validate the obtained factor structure.

The analyses showed that the adjective checklist reflected two slightly negatively correlated latent factors. One factor described task orientation, the other inattentiveness. A questionnaire was constructed containing 12 items covering the content of these two factors.

This instrument reflects important aspects of the classroom climate. It is easy to administer, quickly completed, and should be useful in studies of the classroom environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2002
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96327 (URN)10.1006/jevp.2002.0238 (DOI)
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
4. Sound levels in classrooms and effects on self-reported mood among school children
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sound levels in classrooms and effects on self-reported mood among school children
2006 (English)In: Perceptual and Motor Skills, ISSN 0031-5125, E-ISSN 1558-688X, Vol. 96, no 3 Pt 2, 1289-1299 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

 The principle of this field study is an investigation of recorded sound levels in 24 classrooms and relations between sound level measures and aspects of children's rated annoyance, task orientation, and inattentiveness. The background sound-exposure levels were distributed within the interval of 33-42 dB(A)eq and the activity sound level exposure ranged between 47-68 dB(A)eq. The recorded levels must be considered as high for work environments where steady concentration and undisturbed communication is essential. Results do not support the hypothesis that lower background-sound level and fewer students per class would improve the sound environment by generating a lower activity noise or the hypothesis that higher sound levels should increase annoyance and inattentiveness as well as deteriorate task orientation ratings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ammons Scientific, 2006
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96329 (URN)10.2466/PMS.96.3.1289-1299 (DOI)
Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
5. Subjective effects of environmental noise in children aged 14-17 years
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Subjective effects of environmental noise in children aged 14-17 years
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-96330 (URN)
Projects
digitalisering@umu
Available from: 2014-11-18 Created: 2014-11-18 Last updated: 2015-04-10Bibliographically approved

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Classroom noise(11952 kB)