First of all, what is noise?
By definition, noise is a mostly unpleasant, distracting or even painful sound. It can be constant or sudden, it can have a high or low frequency, and in some cases, it may even be dangerous to our health.
Noise and its volume is measured in decibels (dB).
This image shows how many decibels can be generated in various envi
So how does that relate to us?
0-35dB - harmless, can be irritating
36-75dB - may cause tiredness
76-85dB - if constant, decreases work efficiency, causes headaches and weakens hearing
86-135dB- significantly damages hearing, can lead to imbalance and disorder of the nervous and circulatory systems.
Noise can be divided in three groups by frequency, measured in hertz (Hz):
Infrasounds (1Hz – 20Hz), often referred to as low-frequency sounds
Audible sounds (20Hz – 20000Hz or 20kHz), the only range of sounds hearable to humans. The boundaries of these sounds are informal considering age and hearing abilities of various people.
Ultrasounds (over 20kHz), emitted by dog whistles, also used by bats for echolocation.
The effects of (too much) noise
The consequences of exposure to noise can influence not just your hearing ability, but also a lot of important processes happening in your body.
The effects are as follows:
- Loss of hearing, it’s very hard to determine this. Loss of hearing occurs painlessly and gradually.
- Stress, nervousness
- Problems with concentration
- Digestion disorder
- Higher blood pressure levels
We all know school breaks can be noisy, and even noisier if we want to study for that test we didn’t know was supposed to be today.
Considering over 75dB being unhealthy for us it is safe to say schools are louder, 80-90dB on average.
Unfortanunately this affects our concentration and learning capabilities as well. Because of noisy environments like these we may become sleepy and distracted, thus resulting in bad grades.
We also did a little bit of research ourselves. For a week, students involved in the Erasmus+ project checked the noise of each room in our school building during particular hours and breaks.
Where and what did we measure?
The source of noise can be various machines working in our environment- Nearby the school’s area are located so called gravel pits. Other sources could be printers in the school office, computers in IT classes or machines in the kitchen. But these weren’t the loudest sources, as you may already know.
Turns out we, the students and school personnel, are the noisiest!uczniowie i pracownicy szkoły. Erasmus+ students measured the level of decibels during our daily activities, breaks, PE lessons and in the canteen. Here are the results.
The chart shows the noise level on the corridor downstairs, from seven sixteen to one ten. The straight line shows the acceptable noise level
And now the noise level on the gym
The noise level in the canteen, on the breaks during which we have our lunch
And now the noise level on the gym
And here you can see the noise level on the first floor, where the youngest children spend their breaks
The noise level on the floor where there are mostly older students
How can we reduce the noise?
Do you want to make children quiet? Sure, good luck with that.
If the subject is older students, it is possible to decrease noise among them.
Here’s a few examples:
- Quieter behaviour during breaks and lessons.
- Speaking just loud enough to understand each other.
- Walking instead of running.
- Spending as much time possible outside during breaks.
- Designing the school building in terms of accoustics.
Why reduce the noise?
- 65% of Europe’s population is exposed to noise of over 55dB, which can lead to anxiety and sleep disorders.
- 70% of teachers suffer from minor hearing loss.
- It is estimated that by 2025 over 900 million people will suffer from hearing loss of about 25dB.
- 8 hours of daily exposure to over 80dB is enough to noticeably damage your hearing.
- http://www.hear-it.org/school-noise-detrimental-hearing-and-learning (They’ve got a free hearing test, go check it out!)