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Learning And Interacting in Noisy Classrooms: Teacher Perceptions of The Challenges For Students Who Are Hard of Hearing

Janet R. Jamieson, Brenda T. Poon, Anat Zaidman-Zait


The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the impact of background noise on the daily school experiences of deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) children in elementary school. Through observations in 11 elementary classrooms in a western Canadian city, students and teachers were found to participate in four types of classroom activities (seatwork, direct teacher instruction, small group activities, and transitions).  Unstructured activities, large classroom space, and high levels of background noise caused the most challenge for DHH students in terms of learning and peer interactions. Sixteen classroom and specialist teachers of the DHH were interviewed to learn their perceptions of their 11 DHH students’ experience learning and interacting in noisy classrooms, and all interviews were analyzed through a content analysis approach. The teachers perceived that the students experienced serious negative impacts from background noise both academically and socially. Implications for theory, practice, and policy are discussed.


deaf; hard of hearing; classroom acoustics; background noise

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