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Research shows teachers would prioritise acoustics way above other criteria regarding comfort in the indoor environment

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Last year CIOP (Central Institute for Labour Protection – National Research Institute) investigated noise problem in public primary schools in Warsaw.
The main focus of this survey, initiated by Ministry of National Education, was the noise impact on school staff’s health and well-being. Important part of this research was a survey among teachers checking their awareness of noise threat. Close to 200 teachers returned filled questionnaires. Have a look at interesting results:

Do you experience discomfort during work caused by …… . (% of answers “yes”):
– noise 88,2%
– lack of space 32,1%
– bad ventilation 27,3%
– bad lighting 13,9%
– dustiness 3,2%

What are the most disturbing noise sources in your school?
– Noise in corridors during breaks 83,5%
– Physical exercises in corridors during lessons 34,5%
– Corridor ring 31,4 %
– Pupils’ chatter during lessons 30,0 %
– Talks in corridor during lessons 9,6 %
– Sounds from neighboring classrooms 9,2 %
– Noise from HVAC systems 9,1 %
– Noise from school playground/yard 6,5 %
– Traffic noise 4,8 %
How difficult problem noise is in your school? (annoyance in scale 1 to 10)
7,1 % of teachers chose 1-3 (slight)
50,6 % chose 4-7 (serious)
42,4 % chose 8-10 (critical)
Have you experienced lately: (% of answers “yes”)
– growing fatigue during working day 98,3 %
– irritation 97,1 %
– stress and emotional tension 95,2 %
– waking up tired and sleepy 94,3 %
– hoarseness 91,3 %
– concentration problems 90,6 %
– frequent headache 85,4 %
– apathy 83,6 %
– tinnitus (buzzing in the ears) 61,9 %
– chronic laryngitis 61,1 %
All these very common physical and mental problems are caused, or at least supported by noise! It is obvious that exposure to noise has similar consequences for pupils. Regarding this, WHO’s “Children’ Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe” (CEHAPE) points to need of noise control in educational and housing areas (click here to go to related article). For 2010 CIOP plan to prepare guidelines for noise control in schools as an input to national CEHAP. This document will be dedicated to architects, school headmasters and local authorities responsible for education sector in Poland.
Research report will be presented at 15th International Conference on Noise Control in Książ Castle near Wrocław, Poland, in June. To visit Noise Control webpage click here

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