Sound Advice – from the Ear Foundation

Hearing Foundation logo1


Hearing loss is one of the world’s most common disabilities and yet one of the least supported. Fortunately, in the UK there is somewhere to go for help.

Nottingham’s Ear Foundation has a dedicated team of support professionals, including audiologists, educators, signing tutors and researchers as well as speech and language therapists. The charity provides the only holistic service centre for babies through to the elderly.

“Such is the demand for our services that we have individuals and families travelling from as far away as Northern Ireland and Scotland for support,” says chief executive Sue Archbold. “Within a few years we were struggling for space and knew we needed to double in size to cope with the intense demand.”

Sue Archbold interview

Watch the video interview with Sue Archbold here

The vision was realised this year with the opening of a brand new extension, SoundSpace, designed by architects, CPMG. Built by construction group Kier with Q.S support from The Vinden Partnership.

This new specialised building will accommodate their growing clinical services and  help to ensure deaf children, their parents and deaf adults are better able to manage their complex hearing technologies and develop their listening and communication skills.

The new building includes:

·         two rehabilitation rooms

·         a hearing technology suite

·         a research room

·         a group therapy room

·         a quiet meeting room

·         a workshop/seminar room

These spaces were all designed to the new SEN acoustic design standards for schools, Building Bulletin 93, which came into force in December 2014. Andrew Parkin, BB93 committee member was involved in making this important leap forward for children and youth in particular.

“Good acoustics in schools is of paramount importance.  Unless pupils can understand what their teachers and peers are saying, then no teaching or learning actually takes place.  This is compounded further for vulnerable listeners who can struggle to learn when others can ‘make do’. We have a responsibility to our children to provide them with teaching and learning spaces that are fit for purpose.  BB93 is an integral part of the design process that enables this to happen.”

Sue Archbold agrees.

“It is essential that we have the very best acoustic environment possible within our new spaces,” she says. “The new spaces make listening and communicating effortless, and learning far more productive, in comparison to some of the noisy, reverberant buildings our visitors often have to put up with.”

Before the change in December, BB93 was only concerned with Tmf (Total mid frequencies), the frequencies generated by speech across female and male speakers. However, this narrow frequency range has been greatly broadened down to 125Hz, the low frequency, bass sound often experienced by those with noisy neighbours and which is problematic for those with cochlear implants and hearing aids. Class A absorption acoustic tiles and low frequency bass absorbing pads were used to treat the ceiling, in combination with acoustic wall panels (below).

If you would like to visit SoundSpace and learn more about the new BB93 Acoustic Design for Schools, with guest speaker, Andrew Parkin – Cundall Acoustics, come to the Ecophon BB93 roadshow: Thursday, 16th July , 11:30am – 1:30pm at The Ear Foundation, 83 Sherwin Road, Lenton, Nottingham, NG7 2FB

This seminar is FREE and includes lunch, but a modest contribution to The Ear Foundation charity is always appreciated.

Please send me an email, Shane Cryer here, if you would like to attend or find out more about this.

Hearing foundation teacher student

To hear the BB93 video auralisation click here

Take a hearing test by clicking here

About Sound 206 Educational Environments 190

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