Noisy classroom? Avoid sound-amplification systems, scientific society says

Acoustical Society of America urges use of national standard

Melville, NY -The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) has issued a policy statement entitled "Acoustical Society of America Position on the Use of Sound Amplification in the Classroom." The statement advises schools not to use sound-amplification systems in their efforts to overcome noisy conditions in classrooms. While acknowledging that amplification systems have many valid uses in schools, ASA's statement urges the use of American National Standard Institute (ANSI) S12.60-2002 (American National Standard Acoustical Performance Criteria, Design Requirements, and Guidelines for Schools) to improve classroom acoustics. The ANSI standard sets out guidelines for designing new classrooms, or renovating old ones, to reach acoustical performance criteria needed to make sounds intelligible for most participants in learning spaces.

"ASA has been concerned for many years about poor acoustics in America's classrooms and the deleterious effects poor acoustics have on the ability of children to learn and teachers to teach," said ASA President William Yost, PhD, in announcing the policy statement. "The best way to improve classroom acoustics is through the proper design and renovation of classrooms as specified in ANSI S12.60. Using sound amplification in an attempt to overcome poor classroom acoustics only makes the situation worse. There should be less sound in the classroom, not more."


Copies of the policy statement can be found online at or may be obtained from Elaine Moran, ASA, Suite 1NO1, 2 Huntington Quadrangle, Melville, NY 11747-4502, [email protected].

A free copy of ANSI standard S12.60 on classroom acoustics may be downloaded at and two resource booklets about classroom acoustics are available for free download at and

The Acoustical Society of America is the premier international scientific society in acoustics dedicated to increasing and diffusing the knowledge of acoustics and its applications. Its 7200 members represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include a journal, magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The Society also holds two major scientific meetings per year.

The Acoustical Society of America is one of ten Member Societies of the American Institute of Physics, a not-for-profit organization based in College Park, MD, chartered for the purpose of promoting the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and related sciences.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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