Representative Robert "Bobby" Scott (D-VA) introduced the
Rebuild America’s Schools Act of 2017, on Wednesday, May 17. 2017. Similar to previous
school construction legislation, this version, at ASHA's request, contains
provisions allowing for grant recipients and bond issuers to use their funding
to address excessive classroom noise issues. Further, in addition to a number
of other building elements, schools would have to report on the condition of
their classroom ceilings and windows and key acoustical features of classrooms.
A student's ability to hear and
understand communications in the classroom is vital for learning. Unfortunately, a noisy classroom reduces this
ability. Excessive classroom noise and poor acoustics occur when the background
noise and/or the amount of reverberation in the classroom are so high that they
interfere with learning and teaching. Poor classroom acoustics affect speech
intelligibility, reading and spelling ability, behavior in the classroom,
attention and concentration, and academic achievement.
Excessive classroom noise and poor
acoustics can also affect the teacher. Teachers use their voices for
approximately 60% of their workday. The strain on the voice gets worse when the
teacher has to talk louder than usual to overcome poor classroom acoustics. Studies have
shown that teachers are 32 times more likely to have voice problems than individuals with other occupations.
Advocating on legislative and regulatory efforts related
to classroom acoustics supports the hearing health care
issue enumerated in ASHA's 2017 Public Policy Agenda. For more information, visit ASHA's Classroom Acoustics
webpage or contact Neil Snyder, ASHA's director of federal
advocacy, at email@example.com or 202-624-7750.