Although it is widely accepted that an increased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is preferable for young classroom learners, there is a paucity of data that illustrate the direct effect of enhanced audibility on children with normal hearing, and schools continue to accept less-than-ideal classroom listening environments for their students. Eight students in kindergarten, first, or second grade were observed in acoustically similar classrooms while the application of soundfield amplification was experimentally controlled. Observations of appropriate and inappropriate student behavior before, during, and after soundfield treatment were recorded by trained observers. A significant decrease in inappropriate behaviors came immediately after turning on the soundfield amplification. When the soundfield system was turned off, all of the students revealed a significant increase in inappropriate behaviors. All eight students revealed an increase in appropriate task management immediately following the use of soundfield amplification. When the soundfield treatment was removed, the effect achieved during treatment was maintained for all 8 students.
KEY WORDS: soundfield amplification, ecobehavioral evaluation, classroom acoustics, pediatric listeners
Submitted on August 4, 1997
Accepted on February 12, 1998