Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise: Quantifi cation of healthy life years lost in Europe. ISBN: 978 92 890 0229 5The Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise. Quantifi cation of healthy life years lost in Europe. Copenhagen, WHO Regional Offi ce for Europe, 2011 http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-publish/abstracts/burden-of-disease-from-environmental-noise.-quantifi cation-of-healthy-life-years-lost-in-europeAircraft and road traffi c noise and children's cognition and health: a cross-national study S A Stansfeld, B Berglund, C Clark, I Lopez-Barrio, P Fischer, E Öhrström, MMHaines, J Head, S Hygge, I van Kamp, B F Berry,on behalf of the RANCH study teamDavid Canning, Hear2Learn.Ltd. Essex Study: Interim Report. 'Impact of different acoustic standards in school buildings on teaching and learning'. http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/isessSoundScapeIssue 0215distraction and disturbance coming from other areas."Although Arup has worked on some excellent open plan teaching spaces and appreciates the educational advantages of such teaching areas, the fi rm always advises schools to consider a back-up plan. Butcher says: "If you don't like it down the line or if teaching philosophies change, then you will be able to turn the space into cells in the teaching areas again; whether that means putting up walls or creating divisions between spaces."Discussing another issue, she says that insulating against traffi c and aircraft noise usually requires attention to the ventilation strategy. "We would always encourage natural ventilation as being healthier and less demanding of energy than mechanical ventilation. For many urban school sites, a combination of planning less sensitive rooms for the noisiest façade, combining extra sound absorption into the classrooms close to window openings or providing proprietary attenuated vents make it feasible to provide natural ventilation."Raising the standardMeanwhile, the battle for retaining a high standard of acoustics in schools is ongoing. Leading members of the IoA and ANC are continuing to put steady pressure on the government to make sure that it is kept in the agenda. Bridget Shield, Professor of Acoustics in the Faculty of Engineering, Science and Built Environment at London South Bank University, has been at the centre of recent engagements with the government. Almost a decade ago she was appointed by the Department for Education and Skills as editor of BB93, the document at the centre of the recent debate about acoustics in schools. Shield is adamant that including acoustic design in schools is nothing new. "If you look at Building Bulletin 1 and Building Bulletin 2 they both say you must bear in mind the acoustics in classrooms and the noise levels in schools." Having been involved with projects such as Sweyne Park School and one of the main contributors to the ISESS research (with her colleague Professor Julie Dockrell at the IoE) she has a clear idea of how this battle can be won. She would like to see MPs being shown around schools such as Sweyne Park and the other handful of projects. Experiencing a classroom in which children can hear their teacher clearly, are able to concentrate while not suffering from distracting background noises could be a potential Damascus road experience.Refl ecting on the meetings she and others have held with ministers, she says: "The message we were trying to get across is that there is a lot of research evidence to show that noise has a detrimental effect on children in schools and on teachers. However, it can be controlled by getting the acoustic design right in the fi rst place."Much of this battle involves common sense, it would seem. Some would say sound sense.
SoundScapeIssue 0216Focusing on the next generation's safety and wellbeing, the NAS is extending its Love Your Ears campaign beyond safe personal stereo usage to include sound acoustics in schools. Bringing the qualities of sound to the attention of young people will help them make informed choices about their listening habits. Educating children in assessing and respecting their soundscape is an essential part of building an awareness of quality to hearing and listening. Spending time in schools promoting its healthy listening campaign, the NAS has experienced first hand the difficulties teachers and children face getting themselves heard in the classroom. Teaching and learning have been proven to be more effective when conducted in peaceful environments. The benefit of good acoustics in schools is improved information retention and better quality group discussions. Once young people have been made aware of their hearing, its function and quality, there is a natural progression to a heightened awareness of their day-to-day aural environment. Love Your Ears is extending its reach to school buildings in order to help propagate healthy soundscapes in schools where children can learn and engage with lessons comfortably without battling against needless noise. For our nation to progress and prosper, we require schools that provide environments fit for learning which are not hindered by poor acoustics. Environments where teachers can communicate without fear of damaging their voices and students can learn without the stress of needless noise affecting their hearing, concentration and behaviour. As numbers of children with English as a second language rise, and we look to keep hearing impaired children in mainstream schools, it is imperative that appropriate attention is given to school acoustics. Maintaining a high building standard for schools, with specialist attention to internal acoustics, ensures we will be rewarded with calmer children, less teacher absenteeism Love Your Ears educates teenagers and young adults in valuing and protecting their hearing health - and now its message extends to the benefits of better acoustics in schools. Catherine Bennett tunes in and explores why it can lead to happier pupils and teachersLessons learned