Health and welfare first04-04-2023
A room full of exuberant children is wearing at the best of times – but it’s even worse in a reverberant atmosphere (think gyms, corridors, school cafeterias etc.) which has the effect of a) amplifying the sound and b) rendering speech unintelligible. As a result, noise levels go up even further as people raise their voices to be heard (which, of course doesn’t help), creating a classic vicious circle – the noisier it is, the more people have to shout, the louder it gets – all that happens is that everyone ends up with a headache and frayed nerves!
Reverb is caused by sound bouncing off hard, reflective surfaces. In a school environment, the increased noise levels and impaired intelligibility result in increased stress for everyone - children find it difficult to concentrate, whilst teachers are battling to make themselves heard against high levels of background noise. The most effective way to solve this problem is to dampen the reverb with acoustic treatment.
The addition of absorber panels to a room will cause the sound to reflect less, thus significantly reducing the unpleasant and distracting background noise caused by reverberation. This is particularly effective in day care centres and school classrooms where children may be shouting or crying. The result is a much quieter, more peaceful atmosphere which has a hugely positive impact on wellbeing for both children and teachers. Stress and fatigue levels are reduced, and children are far better able to focus and remain focused for greater periods of time. Teachers also feel the benefit as they no longer have to shout to be heard and children are less distracted – and disruptive – in class.
Reducing ambient noise has a soothing effect on everyone, and not just in the short term – the long-term benefits of working in non-fatiguing environments are considerable: happy children are easier to manage, which means happier, healthier teachers and carers – which in turn has a positive effect on the children they are looking after. Check out the audio clip below from a recent project of ours to hear the difference between a treated room and an untreated room.