Below-par acoustics can result in setbacks in learning, particularly in the case of a child with hearing deficiencies or learning debilities. A school has several needs. They vary according to the design of its classrooms – the intelligibility of speech with least reverberation is most important in a typical classroom, but in a media center or library the same intelligibility of speech could disturb students from studying or reading. Take into account three important acoustical concerns when you renovate or design each space:
Background noise: Keep this as minimum as possible in a normal classroom so that the lecturer does not have to speak louder than the noise to be heard. Also, if background noise is too loud it can cause strain to the vocal chords of the teacher, and students may not hear properly.
Reverberation time: The ideal range is from 0.5 to 0.8 seconds, and it should be possible to readopt the room to reduce the time if a child with impaired hearing joins. You should avoid several reflections interfering with speech clarity.
In schools, some of the common sources causing acoustical disturbance are people in hallways and adjoining rooms and noise created by computers, copiers, and other equipment, outdoor noises, HVAC sounds, and also excessive echoing as per a study conducted.
Professional organizations in the acoustical industry, have recommended databases for finding consulting firms. Some of these are certified by competent authorities which rates the acoustical consultants according to their expertise. Your consultants will check the reverberation time of your space, background noise level, sound isolation, and seal penetrations and any other paths that can allow sound transmission between classrooms.
Often schools have noisy gyms, cafeterias or classrooms. Usually such problems originate from poor acoustics or reverberation. There are many hard surfaces in few of these spaces, and much of the noise bounces around from children, which distorts speech.
Address acoustics is easiest during construction, but in case of present buildings, this option I not valid. Some effective solutions are upgrading the door gaskets or just replacing the doors themselves and this will stop noise from leaking to adjoining rooms.
A ventilator, and a HVAC unit for every room, and a duct work that is not insulated can cause distracting noise for students and teachers alike, particularly students sitting close to the ventilators.