Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 28, No. 8, p. 1083-1090. (November, 2012)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article examines how future teachers perceive the acoustic contamination and its deleterious effects.
It analyses their acoustic habits, with the aim of raising their awareness concerning this problem.
The participants were 90 students being trained in primary education at the University of Granada.
The authors designed a number of activities, applied during a practical lesson, in which students evaluated some of their perceptions and attitudes towards noise, and recorded their hearing capacity.
The students were divided into two groups, which answered two different tests.
One group, included 55 participants, was asked to describe the ways in which humans can produce contamination, thus an open question.
Another group, which included 35 participants, was asked to rank noise as a contaminant in a closed list among different contaminant activities by humans.
The results suggest that most students are unaware of the risks of many of their activities.
Environmental noise linked to the place of residence or study cannot in general be controlled by the student.
Notably, some students consider their residence as noisy or very noisy, while this appreciation is lower for their home and place of study.
While it is hard for students to choose the characteristics of the residence and workplace, an entertainment establishment can be selected.
However, this choice is strongly determined by social pressure, places of entertainment with high levels of noise being common for young people worldwide.
This habit can trigger temporary changes in the hearing level.
Furthermore, a high proportion of students admitted to immoderate use of earphones, in terms of both time of use and volume, a habit that can be injurious.
The average sound level that students habitually use in their earphones is dangerously high, However, students acknowledged that they often set a higher volume in their earphones when confronted with high environmental noise.
The findings reveal that the perception of noise as a contaminant and the appreciation of its danger increased in the students after the performing of the practice.
The authors argue that these future teachers will be prepared to promote healthy habits with respect to environmental noise in children, and will perhaps be more receptive to prevention programmes than their colleagues who lack this perception of noise as a serious health problem.
In conclusion, the authors propose several activities, which can prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
First, awareness needs to be raised among future teachers and education professionals in relation to hearing health problems.
Second, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to sound, noise, and environmental and health problems, giving meaning to some aspects that might otherwise be unattractive to students.
Third, the role of teachers goes beyond training and raising student awareness, insomuch as it needs also to reach the students’ parents.
The involvement of parents in classroom activities would improve the efficiency of such activities by reinforcing the effect in students and broaden outreach in society.
Furthermore, parents who become aware constitute pressure to establish these prevention programs as part of the school curriculum.