David Lubman - Acting Chair
Leisha Kinney - Acting Secretary
Help us to resurrect the Orange County Regional
Chapter! We believe that we have a regular meeting
place at Cal State Fullerton and are looking for a few
good volunteers to help us get our meetings up and
running. Please contact David Lubman
if you are interested.
Classroom acoustics is a very hot area today. A recent
US national standard for classroom acoustics (ANSI
S12.60-2002) was approved after a six-year development
process by the largest ANSI Working Group any of us can
The standard contains much useful information for school designers,
administrators, parents, and others who want the best schools for their
kids. It can be downloaded at no cost at
Other low-cost classroom acoustics publications are available at the ASA
website. Click http://asa.aip.org/. Then click “Publications” and read
down the list.
The USA is not alone in having classroom acoustic standards or
guidelines. Some European nations also have such standards. Sweden’s
excellent guidelines were a conscious inspiration for US developers.
England’s standard became mandatory in July 2003. The World Health Organization (WHO) has had guidelines for several years.
Volunteer scientists and engineers of the Acoustical Society of America, the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, and the National Council of Acoustical Consultants were a major force behind it, as was the U. S. Access Board, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, and many other professional organizations.
Many states and school districts
have already adopted this voluntary standard, and many
more and considering adopting the standard - an idea that the ASA officially encourages.
Why is all this attention suddenly being given to classroom acoustics? The problem of poor classroom acoustics is more serious than almost anyone knew. Not just for hearing impaired students and English language learners, but for ALL students. It seriously interferes with learning. It singles out the most vulnerable. It is avoidable and correctable.
In my opinion, the worst problem is not noisy classrooms where learning is almost impossible. That situation is obvious, and is likely to get attention! The worst problem by far is classrooms with marginal acoustics. That very common situation is insidious. Students in marginal classrooms hear most of what is said, and are usually unaware that poor acoustics is interfering with their learning. Acoustically vulnerable students may not hear the homework assignment correctly. Most of them will miss that fetching nuanced phrase in English class that danced all
day in the delighted heads of the acoustically able. Some misheard a key word in a mathematics theorem and so missed the entire point. The strain of listening under marginal conditions for long periods causes disengagement from classroom discussion a few minutes earlier. They can’t they hear that soft-voiced teacher when she turns her head a little.
David Lubman, Acting Chair