Effects of noise in primary schools on health facets in German teachers

Eysel-Gosepath, Katrin; Daut, Tobias; Pinger, Andreas; Lehmacher, Walter; Erren, Thomas
May 2012
Noise & Health;May/Jun2012, Vol. 14 Issue 58, p129
Academic Journal
Empirical research indicates that children and teachers are exposed to mean sound levels between 65 and 87 dB (A) and peak sound levels of 100 dB (A) in schools, which may lead to hearing loss and mental health problems. A questionnaire containing 13 targeted questions about noise and sensitivity to noise was distributed to 43 teachers aged between 25 and 64 years at five different primary schools in the Cologne municipal area. The small number of interrogated teachers leads to a wide range of deviation and little significance in the results. Thus, several results are reported following tendencies. Significant results are obtained when comparing younger and older teachers and part- and full-time occupation. Teachers experience highest sound levels in the schoolyard, corridors and classrooms, and 68% of the teachers are annoyed by the noise. Specially, teachers older than 45 years of age suffer from sleep disturbances (44%), and 90% of the full-time employees are tired and exhausted in the evening. Work is judged as physical and mental strain by 51% of the whole sample, and 81% of the older teachers report a significant increase of complaints with increasing years of professional activity. Work-related noise may contribute to physical and mental health problems in teachers. Measures to prevent disease, such as early sensitization of the children to the work-related stressor noise by adequate education with noise lights and dosimeters in the classroom and/or equipping rooms with sound-absorbing materials, have to be discussed.


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