Children's perceptions of their acoustic environment at school and at home

  • Dockrell J
  • Shield B
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This paper describes the results of a large-scale questionnaire survey that ascertained children's perceptions of their noise environment and the relationships of the children's perceptions to objective measures of noise. Precision, specificity, and consistency of responding was established through the use of convergent measures. Two thousand and thirty-six children completed a questionnaire designed to tap (a) their ability to discriminate different classroom listening conditions; (b) the noise sources heard at home and at school; and (c) their annoyance by these noise sources. Teachers completed a questionnaire about the classroom noise sources. Children were able to discriminate between situations with varying amounts and types of noise. A hierarchy of annoying sound sources for the children was established. External LAmax levels were a significant factor in reported annoyance, whereas external LA90 and LA99 levels were a significant factor in determining whether or not children hear sound sources. Objective noise measures (LA90 and LA99) accounted for 45% of the variance in children's reporting of sounds in their school environment. The current study demonstrates that children can be sensitive judges of their noise environments and that the impact of different aspects of noise needs to be considered. Future work will need to specify the factors underlying the developmental changes and the physical and location dimensions that determine the school effects

Author-supplied keywords

  • educational institutions
  • hearing
  • iHEAR
  • noise pollution

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  • Julie E Dockrell

  • Bridget Shield

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