Noise and cognition

There is considerable literature on the effects of noise on human functioning, much of it considering children in noisy learning environments. Research indicates that high levels of background noise, much of it from heating and cooling systems, adversely affects learning environments, particularly for young children, who require optimal conditions for hearing and comprehension.

Students in carpeted classrooms had higher test scores in Math and Language than students in rooms with hard floors.

A number of other reliable findings prove that chronic noise exposure impairs cognitive functioning, while resulting in reading problems, deficiencies in pre-reading skills, and other general cognitive deficits. Good acoustics (sound quality rather than amount of noise) are also fundamental to academic performance. While noise from the outdoors or mechanical equipment creates distractions for teachers and students, poor classroom acoustics prevent students from hearing and also results in lower outcomes.


Source Kurani, D. (2013). Recalibrating the K-12 Urban Campus. Harvard University.

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