Classroom Noise and Teachers' Voice Production Purpose The aim of this study was to research the associations between noise (ambient and activity noise) and objective metrics of teachers' voices in real working environments (i.e., classrooms). Method Thirty-two female and 8 male teachers from 14 elementary schools were randomly selected for the study. Ambient noise ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 2015
Classroom Noise and Teachers' Voice Production
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Leena M. Rantala
    School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere, Finland
  • Suvi Hakala
    School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere, Finland
  • Sofia Holmqvist
    Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland
  • Eeva Sala
    University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Leena Rantala: leena.m.rantala@uta.fi
  • Editor: Jody Kreiman
    Editor: Jody Kreiman×
  • Associate Editor: Scott Thomson
    Associate Editor: Scott Thomson×
Article Information
Hearing & Speech Perception / Acoustics / School-Based Settings / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2015
Classroom Noise and Teachers' Voice Production
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2015, Vol. 58, 1397-1406. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0248
History: Received September 5, 2014 , Revised February 22, 2015 , Accepted June 5, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 2015, Vol. 58, 1397-1406. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-14-0248
History: Received September 5, 2014; Revised February 22, 2015; Accepted June 5, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Purpose The aim of this study was to research the associations between noise (ambient and activity noise) and objective metrics of teachers' voices in real working environments (i.e., classrooms).

Method Thirty-two female and 8 male teachers from 14 elementary schools were randomly selected for the study. Ambient noise was measured during breaks in unoccupied classrooms and, likewise, the noise caused by pupils' activity during lessons. Voice samples were recorded before and after a working day. Voice variables measured were sound pressure level (voice SPL), fundamental frequency, jitter, shimmer, and the tilt of the sound spectrum slope (alpha ratio).

Results The ambient noise correlated most often with the fundamental frequency of men and voice SPL, whereas activity noise correlated with the alpha ratio and perturbation values. Teachers working in louder ambient noise spoke more loudly before work than those working in lower noise levels. Voice variables generally changed less during work among teachers working in loud activity noise than among those working in lower noise levels.

Conclusions Ambient and activity noises affect teachers' voice use. Under loud ambient noise teachers seem to speak habitually loudly, and under loud activity noise teachers' ability to react to loading deteriorates.

Acknowledgments
We thank the Finnish Work Environment Fund, Helsinki, Finland (Grant 109292) for its financial support of this research. We also warmly thank the schools and all the teachers who participated in this study.
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