The Classroom Acoustical Environment and the Americans With Disabilities Act Audiologists and acoustical engineers have urged that acoustics be considered in the design of classrooms for more than 30 years. Research has demonstrated that children with hearing loss have great difficulty understanding speech in noisy, reverberant environments. However, there has never been a legal mechanism to require local educational systems ... Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   October 01, 2000
The Classroom Acoustical Environment and the Americans With Disabilities Act
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Donna L. Sorkin
    The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Washington, DC
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: dsorkin@agbell.org
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / Clinical Forum: Improving Acoustics in American Schools
Clinical Forum   |   October 01, 2000
The Classroom Acoustical Environment and the Americans With Disabilities Act
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2000, Vol. 31, 385-388. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.3104.385
History: Received September 29, 1999 , Accepted June 30, 2000
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2000, Vol. 31, 385-388. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.3104.385
History: Received September 29, 1999; Accepted June 30, 2000

Audiologists and acoustical engineers have urged that acoustics be considered in the design of classrooms for more than 30 years. Research has demonstrated that children with hearing loss have great difficulty understanding speech in noisy, reverberant environments. However, there has never been a legal mechanism to require local educational systems to address acoustics in the design and construction of schools. An effort by a broad-based coalition of engineers, audiologists, parents, architects, and educators is now underway to develop a standard for acoustics that would then be referenced in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Although the legal mechanism for this action is to address the needs of children with disabilities as the ADA requires (most notably, children with hearing impairments, but also those with central auditory disorders, attention deficit disorders, and vision impairments), the impact will be more far-reaching. All children—whether or not they have a disability—will benefit from a favorable acoustical environment.

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