The impact of building acoustics on speech comprehension and student achievement

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The movement for improved classroom acoustics has primarily been grounded on studies that show how building acoustics (i.e. background noise levels and room reverberation) affect speech intelligibility, as determined by speech recognition tests. What about actual student learning, though? If students do not understand each spoken word in the classroom perfectly, can they still manage to achieve high scholastic success? This presentation will review two recent studies conducted at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, linking classroom acoustic conditions to student learning outcomes and speech comprehension (rather than simply recognition). In the first, acoustic measurements in two public school districts in the Midwest were correlated to elementary student achievement scores. Results indicate that higher background noise levels, greater than 40 dBA, may lead to unacceptable scholastic performance in language and reading tests. The second study focuses on how room acoustic conditions impact English speech comprehension of native-English-speaking listeners in contrast to English-as-second-language (ESL) listeners, a group which includes 21% of children in the United States K-12 school system. Conclusions are that higher reverberation times and background noise levels do reduce speech comprehension in both groups of listeners, but adverse noise conditions are particularly more detrimental on ESL listeners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationINTERNOISE 2014 - 43rd International Congress on Noise Control Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationImproving the World Through Noise Control
EditorsJohn Davy, Marion Burgess, Charles Don, Liz Dowsett, Terry McMinn, Norm Broner
PublisherAustralian Acoustical Society
ISBN (Electronic)9780909882037
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event43rd International Congress on Noise Control Engineering: Improving the World Through Noise Control, INTERNOISE 2014 - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: Nov 16 2014Nov 19 2014

Publication series

NameINTERNOISE 2014 - 43rd International Congress on Noise Control Engineering: Improving the World Through Noise Control

Conference

Conference43rd International Congress on Noise Control Engineering: Improving the World Through Noise Control, INTERNOISE 2014
CountryAustralia
CityMelbourne
Period11/16/1411/19/14

Keywords

  • Background noise
  • Classroom acoustics
  • Reverberation
  • Speech comprehension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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  • Cite this

    Wang, L. M. (2014). The impact of building acoustics on speech comprehension and student achievement. In J. Davy, M. Burgess, C. Don, L. Dowsett, T. McMinn, & N. Broner (Eds.), INTERNOISE 2014 - 43rd International Congress on Noise Control Engineering: Improving the World Through Noise Control (INTERNOISE 2014 - 43rd International Congress on Noise Control Engineering: Improving the World Through Noise Control). Australian Acoustical Society.