Hearing-impaired students or students using amplification devices (e.g., cochlear implants, personal FM sound field systems) require lower reverberation times and less background noise than an average student to hear adequately. Typical classrooms do not meet the acoustical needs of hearing-impaired students.
The following design recommendations pertain specifically to classrooms occupied by hearing impaired students:
- Install high performance (0.95 NRC) acoustic tiles in classrooms with hearing-impaired students to reduce classroom reverberation times.
- Specify easily movable sound-absorptive materials in classrooms with hearing-impaired students so they can relocate to other rooms as the children advance to new classrooms.
- For cost-effectiveness, ensure materials are easy for school maintenance or custodial staff to install.
- Reverberation times in classrooms with hearing-impaired students or students using hearing assistive technologies (e.g., cochlear implants) should not exceed 0.4 seconds.
- Assign support personnel (e.g., speech/language pathologist, teacher’s aide) to assist hearing-impaired students in classrooms.