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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

background to be extendedSoundScapeIssue 0217For 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 behaviourSources1 Health Protection Agency. Environmental Noise and Health in the UK, HPA 2010. www.hpa.org.uk 2 Shield and Dockrell. J. Acoustical Society of America, 123(1) 2008 3 Stansfeld et al. The Lancet, 4th June 2005 4 Dockrell and Shield. British J Educational Research 32(3) 2006. 5 National Deaf Children's Society. Do schools sound good? NDCS,2009. www.ndcs.org.uk 6 Times Educational Supplement 21st January 2011 7 Association of Teachers and Lecturers. www.atl.org.ukand a healthier standard of education and retention. The NAS believes it a worthwhile investment and that, in teaching children to listen, we must make sure they can first hear and understand. Get protectedVarious studies have indicated the ticking timebomb of permanent noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) in children and young adults due to mp3 player misuse and exposure to loud music in venues and during events. The shocking reality is that the present generation of teenagers is at risk of being the first generation to be significantly hearing impaired or deaf before the age of 40. Of those surveyed by the NAS, 94% of teenagers regularly listened to their mp3 players at levels dangerous to hearing: 85db(A) and above. The Love Your Ears campaign is visiting schools with an audiologist from Ascent Hearing, encouraging teenagers to test their headphone volumes on CYRIL (Calculate Your Real Input Level) and discussing their mp3 player usage amongst their peers. Love Your Ears also has a comprehensive hearing health lesson plan and DVD for national curriculum Key Stages 2, 3 and 4 awaiting publication. Hearing deficitHearing and learning for life starts at home and in schools. We need to protect our legislation and keep our educational buildings to exacting acoustic standards. We ignore the warning signs of poor acoustics in schools at our peril and that of future generations. Effects of noise and poor acoustics on pupils' attainmentsExternal and internal noise affects children's performance in literacy, numeracy and memory tasks1. These effects can be reduced by good acoustic design. Noise outside of schools (e.g. from road traffic) affects SAT scores2: a 10 dB(A) increase in external noise causes an average 5% drop in SAT scores at Key Stage 1 and a 7% drop in SAT scores at Key Stage 2. Noise inside the classroom (e.g. from the pupils) affects SAT scores2: a 5 dB(A) increase in classroom noise causes an average 13% drop in SAT scores at Key Stage 1 and a 12% drop in SAT scores at Key Stage 2. A 5 dB(A) increase in aircraft noise is associated with a two month delay in reading ability3. Children with special needs are more seriously affected by noise than others - the impact on their performance in spelling and reading is three times that of the impact on other children4. Hearing-impaired children require lower noise levels and better acoustic conditions in order to be able to hear the teacher; around 35,000 deaf children are educated in mainstream schools in the UK5; up to 40% of children in a primary school class have temporary or permanent hearing loss at any one time. Effects of noise and poor acoustics on teachersPoor acoustic classroom design leads to voice problems among teachers. More than 70,000 teacher days are lost every year in primary schools due to voice strain, at a cost of over £15 million6Teachers are eight times more likely than other workers to have voice problems.Nearly seven out of 10 UK primary school teachers experience voice problems for which a quarter of them have to have time off work7.To find out more about Love Your Ears, and to support our campaign, please visit http://noiseabatementsociety.com/campaigns/love-your-ears