Following a great response a few years ago after doing lectures about acoustics in learning environments at Comfort Audio’s four Academies in Denmark, Mai-Britt Beldam and Comfort Audio decided to do a project together – to find out what would happen if optimum room acoustics is combined with great hearing products for kids with hearing impairments.
A plan was set to find an average public school with a class containing a hearing impaired student. The plan testing material was set to show student performance on working memory, listening comprehension, rhyme test and actions to follow. In addition they wanted to secure that the school leader, parents and the municipality will participate!
The school was found, the agreements were done with all stakeholders – and the work could begin.
The children were tested four times in the following different classroom scenarios:
January: Pre test (no changes in the room – no new hearing technic for the hearing impaired child)
March: Pre test + technical equipment
April: Post test (after acoustical treatment, Class A Absorber with additional low frequency absorber above and wall panel absorbers – no technical equipment)
June: Delayed post test – acoustical treatment + technical equipment
Before and after acoustic treatment acoustic measurements below:
Reverberation Time T20 (s)
Before : 0.95s
Speech Clarity C50 (dB)
The results show that the performance of the class in general IN ALL TESTS goes up after the acoustical treatment. The numbers are remarkable and the teacher was quite amazed when she saw the results of the class. The child with hearing impairment goes from below average to average/above average after the acoustical treatment – and when the hearing technical equipment was applied after the treatment she was the top performer in one of the tests! This was not the case before the acoustical treatment – even when using the hearing equipment! The statements from the children, the teacher and the parents are all very positive. The teacher doesn’t need to raise her voice, the kids are more concentrated and especially the kid with hearing impairment has changed the way of participating in group work an interactions in general.
There is no doubt that the acoustical treatment is the reason why the exact classroom is now ‘the best room of the school’. The new awareness of acoustics and sound has changed a lot of things in the school! The school leader is planning a meeting at the municipality with Mai-Britt to secure the acoustics in all future projects!
But what was the miracle? The girl with hearing impairment now is a part of the ‘group’, she is more talkative and finally (!) enjoys her school life! For the first time in her life…
Watch the embedded film above for the reaction and feedback from the school and the hearing impaired student and her mother.