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The impact of noise in the classroom

May 28, 2021

A perspective by Narendra Kaley

Hazardous noise can destroy the ability to hear clearly and can also make it more difficult to hear the sounds necessary for working safely, such as instructions or warning signals (Safe Work Australia, 2020). In the same Code of Practice document titled ‘Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work’, Safe Work Australia further outlines the stages and effects of hearing loss associated with exposure to hazardous noise.

Exposure to high levels of noise can cause various ailments including tinnitus, partial hearing loss, permanent hearing loss and inability to hear some frequencies of sound or speech. This can also bring on other debilitating effects such as loss of sleep, irritability, reduced concentration, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, fatigue, nervousness and many other conditions that are anti-particles to work and performance.

“Various studies show that noise exposure affects educational outcomes, and other research provides evidence of mechanisms to explain these effects of noise on learning. Speech intelligibility studies have found that students’ ability to recognise speech sounds is decreased by even modest levels of ambient noise, and this effect is magnified for younger children. This problem may not be appreciated by adults, who are better able to recognise speech in the presence of noise.” (The National Academies Press, 2006, pp. 42-45).

Dr. Vass, in his recent article in the City News tells us the importance of hearing as a primary human sense. “…it means you are seeking better clarity and improved communication.” (Ian Meikle-Editor, City News-May 20-2021, pp. 22). Schools are just like workplaces and it’s important that we do our best to keep noise levels below 50 dB(A) (Safe Work Australia, 2020).


  • Ian Meikle-Editor, City News-May 20-2021, pp. 22. (n.d.). Celebrating Seniors-Hearing help that ‘changes lives’. (I. Meikle, Ed.) City News(May 20, 2021).
  • Safe Work Australia. (2020). Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work – Code of Practice. Canberra: Safe Work Australia.
  • The National Academies Press. (2006). Review and Assessment of the Health and Productivity Benefits of Green Schools: An Interim Report. Washington DC: The National Academies Press. Retrieved from https://www.nap.edu/read/11574/chapter/7.

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