A comparison and evaluation of external noise levels between urban and rural primary schools
(2016) A comparison and evaluation of external noise levels between urban and rural primary schools, no. 44.
Environmental noise can have a detrimental effect on the physiology, motivation and cognition of school children (Evans and Lepore 1993) and can cause negative effects on a person's physiological, mental, motivational and cognitive functions (Berglund, Lindvall and Schwela 1999) as well as having a recognisable interference with communication, resulting in significant social consequences (Brammer and Laroche 2012). In 1999, the World Health Organisation (WHO) set guidelines to ensure noise levels do not exceed 35dB LAeq in the classroom and 55dB LAeq on the playground. Shield and Dockrell (2004) investigated whether these guidelines were being adhered to in a study of internal and external noise levels in London primary schools. In order to evaluate external noise levels within primary schools in Scotland, playground noise levels were compared between urban and rural environments during mid-morning break time, as well as the five minute period immediately prior to and after the break time. It was found that primary schools in urban settings were significantly louder than in rural settings although the level of noise produced by school children during play did not reflect noise levels within the environment. Observations during the investigation found that road traffic, weather and birds were the main sources of noise when the children were not on the playground. The average external noise level in urban school playgrounds exceeds the current WHO guideline and the effects of high noise levels on communication should be further investigated.