Early diagnosis of hearing loss, together with good pre-school guidance, consistent appropriate hearing aid fitting and cochlear implants are making it possible for severely and profoundly deaf pupils to be educated in mainstream classes. The government policy of inclusion also encourages this situation.
It is therefore important to have realistic targets for acoustic conditions in schools in order to influence either existing provision or new building regulations. Good acoustic conditions benefit both hearing and deaf pupils. However, classroom acoustics is only one of many factors which will support or inhibit the successful inclusion of severely and profoundly deaf pupils.
Recommended standards need to be used sensitively and put in the context of other strategies used by pupils and staff. They would be one factor in the learning environment and the impact on individuals will be variable.
Background Noise Levels (BNL) and Reverberation Times (RT) can be improved by:-
The outcomes of severely and profoundly deaf pupils educated in mainstream, unit and resource settings, where BNLs and RTs have not been ideal need to be researched in order to demonstrate the value of the additional strategies that can be successfully used. There are numerous educational and social advantages in attending local mainstream schools and living at home. These should not be underestimated in the overall view of provision. It is important that young deaf adults, whether they communicate in sign or speech, can function in the hearing world as well as the deaf world.
This information is available in .pdf file format.
"Classroom Acoustics - recommended standards" Information Sheet, BATOD Magazine, January 2001.