Sound simulations on school acoustics

Good acoustics in schools are vital for many deaf children to be able to listen and learn effectively. We believe it is one of several barriers to deaf children’s success at school. But what does it actually sound like for a deaf child in a classroom with a poor listening environment?

Sound simulations

This part of the website contains a number of sound simulations that will give you an insight into what it is like being a deaf child in a classroom with poor acoustics, and also the difference that good acoustics makes.

These are only simulations and should only be used as such. They are designed to provoke thought and raise questions about the importance of the listening environment in schools. 

Hearing, listening and understanding are sophisticated processes that are determined by a complex interaction between the physical properties of the ear as well as attention, memory and auditory processing. The term auditory processing is used to describe what happens when your brain recognises and interprets the sounds heard so that it becomes meaningful information.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants are unable to restore normal levels or quality of hearing. The simulations on this website are developed using software that filters sound in a way that attempts to replicate hearing loss and listening through hearing aids and cochlear implants. However, every child's hearing levels and hearing experience is unique. These simulations give the listener an example of the difficulties encountered by deaf children when listening in poor acoustic and noisy environments. However, they are unable to simulate the way that each child will process and experience the sounds heard.   

You can listen to simulations for deaf children with:


Background information

These simulations have been prepared by the National Deaf Children's Society, Hear2Learn and Essex County Council as part of a research project into acoustics.

The simulations use a number of terms, as explained below:

Building Bulletin 93
Building Bulletin 93 (BB93) sets out the acoustic standards required by the Government. For further information visit the TeacherNet website for details.

Standard classroom
This room has received sound treatment that brings the acoustics in the classroom into line with Building Bulletin 93.

Sound treated classroom
This room has received sound treatment that improves the classroom beyond what is required by Building Bulletin 93 and into line with the acoustic standards recommended by the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf for rooms primarily used by deaf children.



We'd like to thank...

  • Tiger Speech: for the provision of the ‘happy birthday’ simulation
  • Children and staff at Essex County Council: for their part in the classroom acoustics study, of which the classroom recordings are a small part.
  • David Canning at Hear2Learn: for developing the simulation.

The simulations have been produced for the National Deaf Children's Society and have been placed in the public domain under the creative commons agreement. It can be used freely and copied and redistributed as long as it is not altered in any way.


Acoustics toolkit

We've produced a series of resources to set out the simple steps that can be taken to improve the listening environment in schools, nurseries and other education settings.

Find out more >>