Effect of external classroom noise on schoolchildren's reading and mathematics performance: Correlation of noise levels and gender
The present study investigated the effect of low, medium, and high traffic road noise as well as irrelevant background speech noise on primary school children's reading and mathematical performance. A total of 676 participants (324 boys, 47.9% and 352 girls, 52.1%) of the 4th and 5th elementary classes participated in the project. The participants were enrolled in public primary schools from urban areas and had ages ranging from 9 to 10 years and from. Schools were selected on the basis of increasing levels of exposure to road traffic noise and then classified into three categories (Low noise: 55-66 dB, Medium noise: 67-77 dB, and High noise: 72-80 dB). We measured reading comprehension and mathematical skills in accordance with the national guidelines for elementary education, using a test designed specifically for the purpose of this study. On the one hand, children in low-level noise schools showed statistically significant differences from children in medium-and high-level noise schools in reading performance (p<0.001). On the other hand, children in low-level noise schools differed significantly from children in high-level noise schools but only in mathematics performance (p=0.001). Girls in general did better in reading score than boys, especially in schools with medium-and high-level noise. Finally the levels of noise and gender were found to be two independent factors. © 2015 by De Gruyter.