Schools can't always eliminate noise that can make hearing and learning more difficult, but renovations can improve the acoustics in a classroom.
In a “Listening for Learning” fact sheet, the U.S. Access Board has compiled several suggestions for improving classroom acoustics:
Windows: Add storm windows; replace existing windows with thermal insulating units; install specially fabricated sound-reducing windows.
Doors: Add good-quality drop seals and gaskets; replace doors with tight-fitting, solid-core doors with seals and gaskets; install sound-control doors if adjacent spaces are very noisy.
HVAC: Add a custom-built sound enclosure around the unit; add soundlining to ducts; rebalance system to reduce air volume delivered to the classroom; relocate ductwork and diffusers away from teaching locations.
Excessive reverberation: Replace existing ceiling tiles with tiles that have a high noise-reduction-coefficient rating; add suspended acoustical tile ceiling if room height permits; add sound-absorbing panels high on walls at sides and rear of room.