High sound levels are linked with ball game sports and physical training. To be able to communicate clearly without raising your voice is a benefit to all.
The overall objective of the performance standard is to ensure that the design and construction of school buildings, including sports halls provide acoustic conditions that enable effective teaching and learning.
It is accepted that noise and poor acoustic design have a detrimental effect on pupils’ academic performance and teachers’ vocal health.
Pupils with additional learning needs or hearing impaired pupils are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of poor acoustic design.
Practically speaking this means reverberation time (Tmf).
Reverberation time is one of the key determinants of room acoustic quality, and the factor to control with regard to sound absorption. It is the time it takes for a sound to reduce by 60db within a given space. It is measured at different frequencies since certain frequency ranges are more important than others.
The amount of sound energy a material will absorb is known as the absorption coefficient.
Typically reverberation is controlled by introducing sound absorbing surfaces. More effective absorbers and increased coverage within a room will lead to lower reverberation times.
Once the size of a room and the absorption characteristics of the finishes are known, an acoustician can predict the reverberation time. They can then calculate the amount and type of sound absorbing material to be included to meet a particular room’s usage and a designer’s preference.
Apart from sport activities, sports halls are also used for exams and assemblies, acoustic demands are therefore very high and complex. Having large amounts of sound absorption is necessary to achieve a pleasing acoustic environment. The choice of materials is also essential as they need to be impact resistant.
Sound absorption should be distributed within a room with a minimum of 25% from the walls, 30% from the soffit and the remaining 45% provided by finishes on any of the room surfaces. It is beneficial for the sound absorption materials to be installed at a lower level rather than higher to improve their effectiveness.
In our experience, sports teachers are more prone to having throat or voice issues than any other subject teachers, as they need to raise their voice due to high levels of background noise.