Objective: The aim of this article is to determine the level of noise in nurseries and pre-schools and also to compare measured levels with standard levels and evaluate the teachers’ level of annoyance. Materials and Methods: The level of noise was measured in three different schools. A total of 162 students, whose ages were between 3 and 6 years, and 12 teachers were included the study. Every age groups’ level of noise was measured during sleeping, gaming, and eating activity. In addition, teachers’ annoyance was assessed in different age groups. Results: The 4- to 6-year-old groups were found to have higher level of sounds than 3-year-old group. Eating period was found to be the highest level of sound whereas sleeping was found the lowest. Furthermore, teachers’ annoyance was found higher as the age decreased. Conclusion: Nurseries and pre-schools have noisy environment both for the students and the teachers. High level of noise, which has bad effects on health, is a public health problem. Both the students’ families and teachers must be aware of this annoying situation.
Keywords: Hearing loss, noise level, public health
|How to cite this article:|
Gokdogan O, Gokdogan C. Determination of the level of noise in nurseries and pre-schools and the teachers' level of annoyance. Noise Health 2016;18:256-9
| Introduction|| |
Noise is an important environmental pollutant which has negative effects on people’s hearing health and sense, upsets physiological and psychological balance, decreases work performance, changes the characteristic of the environment by reducing or destroying its pleasantness and calmness, and has a haphazard spectrum consisting of unwanted sounds.
Noise, which has become an important problem due to rapid urbanization, industrialization, and increasing population, negatively affects human health. The level of the effect depends on the duration and intensity of noise and whether it is continuous or discontinuous. In addition, the health and the age of a person who is subject to noise cause differences in the level of being affected by noise. Individuals who are subject to continuous noise can experience permanent hearing loss. Excessive noise also causes hypertension, paleness of skin, anxiety, respiratory, and heart-vascular system failures besides hearing loss.
In educational activities, which require attention and continuity in particular, productivity decreases both in terms of the people who give service and the people who receive service. Behavior of the teachers within the educational system is also negatively affected by noise. Therefore, noise becomes a factor which creates negativity both for the teachers and the students who receive education.
In 1997, in the study done by the National Board of Occupational Safety and Health in Switzerland, it has been stated that when teachers were asked about the working conditions at their schools, they had expressed noise, sound, and acoustic problems as common problems.
Noise at schools can arise from different sources, because noise, which is created during each activity, is different. Sources of noise at schools have been gathered under four main groups:
- Traffic and other external noise.
- Noise in buildings, especially ventilation noise.
- Machine noise.
- Different activities at schools.
There are two main impacts that noise creates in the school environment: annoyance and behavioral impacts.
Annoyance is the negative impact on performance, which increases as the variety, tonal character, and sound level of noise increase. However, the level of annoyance can be influenced by individual differences such as personality, education, habits, and ability of tolerance.
In the light of this information, the purpose of our study is to identify the level of noise created during activities in nurseries/pre-schools (play and lunch hours) and the level of annoyance of noise on teachers.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The study was conducted in three nurseries/pre-schools in Ankara which were determined after the required approval was received. Nurseries and pre-school departments were different parts of the all three schools. Students and teachers were tried to be included equally from three schools. The students in these schools were grouped as age 3, 4, 5, and 6 groups. The students in the age 3–5 groups were separated as nursery students and the ones in the age 6 group as pre-school students. The students in the age 3–5 group were divided into three groups which was in different classrooms. The maximum and minimum noise levels have been determined during each play, lunch, and sleep times, each consisting 5 min, of a total of 162 students, separated as 27 in the age 3 group; 49 in the age 4 group; 43 in the age 5 group and 43 in the age 6 group. The measurement of noise was taken with Voltcraft digital Sound Level Meter through A weighting. The measurement was determined in all different groups by taking the doors of play, lunch, and sleep rooms as the reference points.
There was a teacher and assistant in all classes. Assistants were not included in the study. A total of 12 teachers had participated in the study. A survey consisting of eight questions was given to the teachers [Appendix 1]. Verbal expressions and an annoyance scale were added to the survey with the purpose of determining the level of annoyance.
| Results|| |
The level of noise determined during the play, lunch, and sleep times of the students in the age 3, 4, 5, and 6 groups is shown in [Table 1]. As the age 6 group did not have a sleep time, it was not included in the evaluation.
|Table 1: The average level of noise according to age groups and activities. The noise level unit is dB(A)|
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The average age of teachers who had participated in the study was (22–50) 33.5 ± 8.37 years. Their average working time in nurseries/pre-schools was (1–27) 11.83 ± 8.08 years. As the education of children from 3 to 6 years of age was given by the same teachers, each teacher works in the different age groups of the same students. Pre-schools and nurseries are not separated schools and each teacher starts education from 3 years old until the end of 6 years old.
According to the survey answers of the teachers, it is considered that the age 4 group produces 33.3%; the age 5 group produces 16.66%; and the age 6 group with the highest rate produces 50% of the noise. The common answer of all teachers had been that boys make more noise in comparison to girls. They had stated that the most noise producing activities were lunch time with 25% and play time with 75% [Figure 1].
|Figure 1: The average level of noise according to age groups and activities. The noise level unit is dB(A)|
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The distribution of the level of annoyance of noise according to the teachers’ age group through the verbal expressions is shown in [Figure 2].
|Figure 2: The teachers’ level of annoyance due to noise according to their age groups|
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The teachers in the age 20–30 group had expressed the level of annoyance of the noise they were subject to as 33.33% annoying (highest), 33.33% as reasonably annoying, 16.66% as slightly annoying, and 16.66% as not annoying at all.
While the teachers in age 31–40 group had stated that the noise had been 75% reasonably annoying and 25% as slightly annoying, teachers of 41 years of age had expressed that the noise had been 100% slightly annoying.
| Discussion|| |
In the noise level measurements taken according to different age groups during lunch and sleep hours, a significant difference has not been observed in the age 4, 5, and 6 groups. However, the age 3 group has been determined to be more silent in comparison to the other groups. The age 3 group’s meeting at the nursery and forming friendships for the first time and being separated from their families for the first time could be reasons for being more silent. In addition, these children generally being the only child of their families and the limited environment consisting of care takers and relatives due to the work life of the mother and the father not being in harmony with the nursery environment are considered as the causes which make these children shy.
However, the other age groups’ warming towards the nursery and pre-school environment more, forming friendships and strengthening of their relationships with their teachers allow them to be extrovert and thus they create more noise.
Normal limits of internal noise were determined as 58–69 dB(A) in studies, the level of noise at schools was determined as 55–66 dB(A), and also the noise levels during the students’ activities were found as 50–70 dB(A).,, Because of the students’ age groups and activities, these are not considered to be compatible with the literature. During the play times at nurseries and pre-schools, the addition of music and teachers’ voice to the children’s voice may result in higher levels in comparison to the noise level of other schools. The accompaniment of the sound of forks and knives, the teachers’ speech sounds, and other sounds created by the coming and going of school personnel to the cafeteria can increase the level of noise.
In accordance with the noise levels, the teachers have stated that the group which created the most noise has been the age 6 group. They have expressed that the most noise has been created by boys. It is considered that the reason for this could be boys’ preference to play noisier games.
It has been observed that the annoyance level of the teachers from noise decreases as their ages increase. It is considered that the teachers in the age 20–30 group are more sensitive to noise and the reason for this could be mainly the fact that they have newly started their jobs and adaptation has not fully been achieved. It is considered that teachers get used to noise by age, especially teachers who have children adapt more. Therefore, it has been determined that, in particular, all teachers over 40 years of age have been slightly annoyed by noise.Noise is one of the environmental dangers which most people are subject to. It has been shown in various studies that 7–10% of the population are subject to noise at dangerous levels in their work environments and the prevalence of hearing loss caused by noise reaches 16–24%. The most known complication of being subject to high intensity noise for long periods is the development of permanent hearing loss. Besides this, there are other physiological and psychological consequences of noise as well.
The physiopathology of hearing loss caused by noise and studies in terms of treatments which can prevent this are still underway.
With the purpose of strengthening data obtained from studies done in a limited number of nurseries/pre-schools, it has been aimed at performing more measurements at more schools in the future studies.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Memorial Health Group Ankara Hospital, 06500 Balgat, Ankara
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
[Figure 1], [Figure 2]