Healthy School Facility Environments

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Acoustics and Noise

Acoustics and NoiseIt is hard to understand speech in noisy situations. Good acoustics -- quiet learning spaces -- are especially important for young children, for those whose home language is not English, for children with learning disabilities or speech impairments, and for children with temporary (because of colds and earaches) and permanent hearing loss. As many as one-third of the children in elementary schools may thus be disadvantaged by excessive noise and reverberation in the classroom -- noise that most adults wouldn't identify as a possible cause of educational delay and failure.

Very loud noise can cause temporary and permanent hearing loss and employee exposures are regulated by the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Program.

KEY RESOURCES FOR:

Parents and Students

US EPA Tools for Schools, Resources on Acoustics

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School Staff

DOH PEOSH Information Bulletin on Noise Exposure and Hearing Conservation, 2004. Helps public employers and employees understand the Occupational Noise Exposure standard and provides guidance for complying with the standard.

Noise in Schools, Hazards and Solutions, 2009, NJEA

OSHA Topic Page on Hearing Conservation

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School Administrators

DOH PEOSH Information Bulletin on Noise Exposure and Hearing Conservation, 2004. Helps public employers and employees understand the Occupational Noise Exposure standard and provides guidance for complying with the standard.

OSHA Topic Page on Hearing Conservation

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Architects and Engineers

American National Standard Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools. ANSI S12.60-2002 (Acoustical Society of America, Melville, New York, Jun 26, 2002) This standards publication provides acoustical performance criteria, design requirements, and design guidelines for new school classrooms and other learning spaces.

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Resource List on Acoustics

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