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Title: An investigation into the effects of classroom acoustics on teachers' voices
Author: Durup, N. D.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 751X
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2017
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The acoustic design of classrooms has traditionally focused on pupils hearing the teacher. There is a need for guidance on the consideration of voice ergonomics for teachers in classroom design. This project undertook measurements of teachers' voices in classrooms with different acoustic properties to examine possible relationships between voice parameters and classroom acoustics. The mean voice level measured was classified as 'loud' (based on guidance values) and the participants spoke for a large proportion of the day (average 21%). Those teaching in rooms with higher unoccupied noise levels spoke with a higher sound level. There was a significant, moderate, positive correlation between voice levels in female participants and the unoccupied noise levels in the same region of the noise spectrum as the fundamental frequency of the female voice. There were signs of a similar relationship for male participants. This indicated that the control of low frequency noise levels and reverberation times (not currently covered by schools guidance documents in England) may be important in reducing voice levels and the associated vocal risks. An online survey was also undertaken which gathered 153 responses and included questions on voice problems, voice training, classroom acoustics and general health. The respondents reported a number of interesting findings. 66% reported having experienced voice problems, with many continuing to work despite these problems. A relatively small proportion of respondents had received voice training (41%), and many reported shouting or raising their voice. There were greater rates of reported voice problems in teachers of young children and those teaching in open plan classrooms. Subjectively the main acoustic issues for teachers were inadequate internal sound insulation and excessive reverberation. External noise intrusion was not reported as significant.
Supervisor: Dance, S. ; Shield, B. ; Sullivan, R. Sponsor: Sharps Redmore Acoustic Consultants
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral