Vol. 13 No. 2 (2016): Energy Efficiency in Buildings " Building physics and environmental control

Effect of sound environment on homework performance

Mine Aşcıgil Dincer
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey
Sevtap Yılmaz
Department of Architecture, Faculty of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

Published 2016-08-08


  • Academic performance,
  • Activity disturbance,
  • Neighbor noise,
  • Transportation noise

How to Cite

Aşcıgil Dincer, M., & Yılmaz, S. (2016). Effect of sound environment on homework performance. A|Z ITU JOURNAL OF THE FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE, 13(2), 79–86. https://doi.org/10.5505/itujfa.2016.71677


Noise may impair childhood development and education, which may have lifelong effects on academic achievement and health. Children are known to be exposed to unhealthy levels of noise at home and at school. Long term exposure to environmental noise, especially to airport noise, in schools, effect attention, comprehension, recall and recognition skills. Acute noise exposure was found to effect recall and recognition in students. Irrelevant speech, even in an unfamiliar language, interferes with serial recall skills and causes attentional distraction. Although the studies on noise exposure of children are executed in schools, home learning environment should provide auditory comfort conditions for homework performance. In this study, the effect of various sound environments on homework performance was investigated through the duration and correctness of solving algebraic equations in multiple choice tests. High school students (17-18 years, N=32) solved quadratic equations listening to sound clips (LAeq=55 dBA): quiet (no sound), aircraft takeoff sound, continuous road traffic sound, verbal television sound, a music piece and children playing (talking, screaming, running). Statistically, aircraft, verbal and children sounds effected homework performance, road traffic and music piece did not. Playing children sounds, which include speech, screaming and running, had a more impairing effect than speech from television, even though they had the same equivalent sound level. Participants' self-reported activity disturbance was dependent on the duration to solve the algebraic equations. The study shows the importance of sound insulation against airport noise, neighbor noise and even noise inside the home, for the academic performance of children.