Impact Of Environmental Noise On Academic Performance Of Office Technology And Management Students In Polytechnics In Imo State

Project and Seminar Material for Office Technology and Management OTM

Impact Of Environmental Noise On Academic Performance Of Office Technology And Management Students In Polytechnics In Imo State


Nowadays, along with air and water pollution; noise pollution also hits the public life and creates problems to the normal life. A noise is an unwanted sound with random intensity of signals that bears no information (Encyclopedia Americana). It is generally defined as a ‘sound in the wrong’ place at the ‘wrong time’ that causes general feeling of annoyance and irritation, fatigue and damage to the auditory mechanisms.

This paper reviews research on issues relating to the effects of noise at school. Areas covered include source of noise at school environment; the effects of classroom noise on student’s and teacher’s performance; student’s and teacher’s annoyance due to noise; and surveys of classroom noise levels. The paper concludes by outlining some current WHO standards for classrooms. Noise measurements were taken in working hour of Monday to Friday. The results showed that noise should be mentioned among the major environmental problems and studies aim at preventing it should have great priority.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Every day activities often require attention to more than one concurrent task. The ability to do this successfully depends on a number of factors including distractions, the difficulty of the tasks and the perceived importance of the tasks.

Bradley (2007) is of the opinion that in a school, listening is the most important ability of the students because most of the time, the teachers use the concept of lecturing and in which the communication between the students and the teacher is emphasized. Listening is the most basic natural ability of the students except for those who have hearing disabilities.

In a classroom, children regularly have to attend to multiple tasks at the same time. For instance, they may be taking notes and reading information on board or a computer screen, while also listening to the teacher and comments or questions from other students. To complicate matters, these tasks are often carried out in the presence of varying levels of background noise.

The learning environment provided by a school should be understood as a result of the complex and dynamic relationship between the various physical elements, attitudes and actions of the different users who constitute the school community (Stansfeld et al, 2005). The identification of problems with the physical setting may be aided by a narrow focus and any attempt to improve the environment and facilitate better learning will require a wider perspective.

Noise in the contemporary context is seen as an unwanted sound which is capable of causing some psychological and physical stress to the living as well as non-living objects exposed to it (Singh and Davar, 2004).
Environmental noise which is a form of air pollution and a threat to health and well being consists of all the unwanted noise in our communities except that which originates in the workplace. Ritu (2007) opined that Environmental Noise is more severe than ever before and it will continue to increase in magnitude and severity because of population growth, urbanization and the associated growth in the use of increasingly powerful varied and highly mobile sources of noise. It will also continue to grow because of sustained growth in highway, rail, and air traffic which remain major sources of environmental noise. The potential health effects of Environmental Noise are numerous, pervasive, persistent and medically and socially significant. Noise produces direct and cumulative adverse effects that impair health and that degrade residential, social, working and learning environments with corresponding real (economic) and intangible(well-being) losses. It interferes with sleep, concentration, communication and recreation. The aim of enlightened governmental controls should be to protect citizens from the adverse effects of airborne pollution, including those produced by noise. People have the right to choose the nature of their acoustical environment; it should not be imposed by others.

Perhaps the beauty of education is best reflected through the educational performance of students, no matter the merit of any educational curriculum (Egim, 2003). There is need to provide a suitable and ideal educational environment that is voided of the usual hustle and bustles associated with urbanization to bring out the best from the scholars in terms of performance. (Dockrell and Shield, 2004) suggested that an ideal school should best be located in a serene and quiet environment that will prevent the students from being exposed to noise and the nuisance associated to noise which will have an adverse effect on the health, attitude and academic performance of the students. Like the home and the work place, the school is also an important micro environment which is important for the cognitive, creative and social development of children.

Schools are therefore expected to ensure the best possible conditions for a child’s physical and intellectual development including control of excess environmental noise.

Research on health, attitudinal change and academic performance has long Being of interest to educational psychologists and evaluation experts. However some studies have been carried out on some certain aspects of the programme (for example: Hamilton, 2008; Hicks and Tharpe, 2002 etc.).

These studies are meager and in any case have not investigated the extent and implication of noise on Nigeria students in terms of health, attitude and academic performance. According to (Goines and Hagler 2007), the noise problem of the past pale is significant when compared with those experienced by modem city dwellers.

Environmental Noise continues to grow in extent, frequency and severity as a result of population growth, urbanization and technological developments of transport and industries. Though, the urban population is much more affected by Environmental Noise, however small towns and villages along road side or industries are also victim of this problem. Noise is becoming an increasingly omnipresent, yet unnoticed form of pollution even in developed countries.

According to FICAN report (2000), road traffic, construction equipment, aircrafts and manufacturing processes are some of the major sources of this unwanted sound that are routinely broadcasted into the air. Though Environmental Noise is a slow and subtle killer, yet very little efforts have been made to ameliorate the same. It is, along with other types of pollution has become a hazard to quality of life. Godson et al (2009) finds that even relatively low Level exposure to noise affects human health adversely. He investigated the relationship between short term and long term effect of occupational exposure to continuous and impulse noise on the risk of coronary heart diseases in 6005 Finnish industrial workers. It was shown from this study that exposure to noise caused a statistically significant increase in the risk for coronary heart disease, continuing even through retirement. The result of this 2005 study has led to numerous policy discussions and advances in Finland, calling for reduced noise exposure. Thus, there are many adverse effects of excessive noise or sudden exposure to noise.

According to United Nations Environmental Protection Agency (UNEP) Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB) and One decibel is the threshold of hearing while approximately 60dB is the level of normal talking. The World Health Organization (WHO) in one of its publication states that the permissible noise level in a school environment should not exceed 35Db. (Mitchell, 2008) opined that exposure for more than six hours a day to sound in excess of 85dB is potentially hazardous to health. In India, the problem of Environmental Noise is widespread. Several studies report that noise level in metropolitan cities exceeds specified standard limits.

In the developed nations, several studies have documented a link between Environmental Noise and the academic achievement of students in particular reading. (Evans, Hygge and Bullinger, 2002) said that acute noise appears to have little long term effects on reading and other intellectual activities of students. However ( Amit et al, 2002) indicated from a research work that chronic noise has a negative effect on children’s reading skills and this research also provided evidence to suggest that children from noisy homes and in noisy schools are at more of disadvantage than children from quieter homes. Children with learning disabilities may also be more susceptible to the negative effects of chronic noise exposure.

In less developed countries (LDCs) like Nigeria, many children do not have access to serene or ideal learning environment. Noise control in the school environment is a real public challenge. In LDCs where urban laws and proper land use conditions that either do not exist or are not always monitored and enforced , few locale-specific data exist to help improve the situation( Godson et al, 2009). The Learning Environment that is not free of barriers or obstacles or distractions such as noise, gas / smoke pollutions and so on can constitute health hazards which in turn affect or reduce students’ concentration or perceptual or conceptual focus to learning. (Mitchell, 2008). Markets and garages always pose a threat to students. Noise and pollution from these sources have always endangered students’ life and concentration. Therefore for an effective learning and high performance, schools in bothrural and urban and sub-urban areas should be located off zones, characterized with smokes / gas pollutions, market centers or garages. As conducive learning environment stimulate learning, understanding and high perception.

It is worth remembering however, that in connection with organizing and managing a school community to control noise, such institutional management necessitates value judgment being made about different sorts of noise (Goines ans Hagler, 2007). Also, in this context it is worth noting the considerable disagreement within the noise literature about the importance of conscious noise annoyance and the range of factors which appears to affect individual judgment. Although these judgments, both made by individual and those reached at institutional level, are undoubtedly more true to the complexity of human experience of noise than purely quantitative measurements of noise level, they do leave more room for argument. For example, ( Inyang, 2009) viewed a recent paper in the British education Journal which argues that existing structures in schools result in ‘weak silences’ consisting of imposed quietness which disempowers students through silencing them and an absence of ‘strong silences’, when non-coercive quiet allows concentration, gaze and self understanding. This suggestion that there exist bad sorts of quietness in school is balanced by understandings, common among educationists, that there may be good noise (Picard and Bradley, 2007).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nigeria has been classified as one of the developing country which is faced with lots of environmental hazards most especially in the area of Environmental Noise as a result of modernization and technological development.
The deplorable conditions of Nigerian school environments have become a serious worry in recent times. Children are often said to be future leaders and the place to lay a solid foundation, build and equip their lives to be better future leaders is the school environment. It is however, a concern that the school environments in which these young minds are trained have been adequately managed. Location of schools has not been a concern to the authorities running them. For instance, it is common to find schools located by commercial and other activities that generate noise such as automobiles, neighbourhood human discussions, discotheques etc., to the extent that it distract the concentration of learners. It is therefore very important to ensure that there is a positive attitude towards student learning environment. This study was designed to determine the extent and effects of noise on students in Lagos State.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess and analyze the Impact of Environmental Noise on Academic performance of office Technology and management students in polytechnics in Imo state. Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of this study are:

  1. To identify the source of noise in school environment;
  2. To determine the Environmental Noise level in the class room and outside the class room;
  3. To identify the effect of noise on the learning and teaching processes in the class room;
  4. To compare the measured noise level with the Imo state noise standard and international standard.

1.4 Research Questions

From the statements above the researcher was prepared some basic questions those are to be answer by respondents. These are some questions which the researcher try to get the response during the research paper were undertaken.

  1. What are the major Environmental Noise sources in school environment?
  2. What activities are done to determine the Environmental Noise level in the class room?
  3. What are the effects of noise in learning and teaching processes?
  4. Which types of noise seriously affect learning and teaching processes in the class room?
  5. What requires to be done in the future to address/ mitigate the problem?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Planning is future oriented and embraces a comprehensive consideration of different aspects of a project, programme or scheme. This is normally done at the drawing board as a pre requisite to the desired project or programme. At this level, anything that is not considered and included in the plan (master plan) at the end of the day may become difficult to integrate.

Over the years, however, Nigeria school environment have suffered neglect in consideration of issues of planning schools. This is obvious in the way school sites are been located and the general outlook of Nigeria schools.
In essence, this study will be significant because:

  1. It will provide some strategies for planners, administrators, policy and decision makers with respect to education in creating a more healthy and productive learning environment.
  2. It will equally awaken and create awareness on both teachers and students on the need for teaching and learning a noise free environment.
  3. It will draw the attention of the Government in passing law and ordinances on Environmental Noise in the state.
  4. It will also help the public to understand the effects of Environmental Noise on children.
  5. It will draw the attention of both government and parents to the importance of locating school sites in a noise free zone.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study of will cover office Technology and management students in polytechnics in Imo state. Students’ academic record and its translations will be examined. This will also be limited to office Technology and management students in polytechnics in Imo state.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The researcher encountered some challenges in the course of carrying out the field work and these challenges were the constraints that worked against the optimal realization of what I am set out to achieve.

These challenges include:


Students did not have enough time to respond to the questionnaire because they were in a hurry to attend one of their compulsory lessons and this will not allow the researcher to get the adequate information needed from the research instrument.


It was observed that some of the students find it difficult to interpret the questionnaire so there was need for an interpreter to conduct the survey.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study, the following operational definitions are used:

Environmental Noise:

It is the intrusion of unwanted, uncontrollable and unpredictable sound that are not necessarily loud into the immediate environment of man.


In this study, implication basically explains the possible effect of noise on students in the area of study.


In this context extent explains the area covered by noise and the degree to which noise affects the environment.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1. Conclusion

As mentioned earlier, noise is the sound that is unwanted by the listener. This chapter looks at the impact of Environmental Noise of the selected schools. According to the result of the physical measurement and questionnaire it was established at the majority of the sample population was annoyed by noise during teaching learning. The annoyance that human feels when faced with noise is the most common out ward symptoms of stress building up in side. Therefore annoyance and stress could be considered as symptoms of potentially more serious problem.

This research paper explores the sources, effects, reactions and suggestions for controlling the excessive noise. Automobiles, people and public address system (loudspeakers) turns out to be major sources of Environmental Noise. It appears that loudspeakers are frequently used for religious functions (temple prayers) and advertisements. Disturbance by loudspeakers and automobiles is felt by official is somewhat lesser than other groups. Across various groups, there are almost an equal proportion of respondent reporting music and religions functions as sources of noise. There are no variations among male and female population. Proportion of female population vis-à-vis proportion of males’ population is same for each of sources of noise.

A survey of noise levels of office Technology and management has shown that the average LAeq, measured over a typical 15 minute period during the school day, is approximately 57 dB(A). However, there was a wide range of levels for all the parameters measured, with some classrooms in supposedly ‘noisy’ areas being exposed to relatively low levels of noise. This suggests that in work concerning environmental noise exposure at school it is necessary to measure the noise rather than rely on noise contours or noise maps to give an indication of a school’s noise exposure level. The predominant noise source outside the selected schools surveyed was road traffic, in particular cars, which could be heard outside 86% of the schools.

It is clear that a range of approaches to noise problems in school are required. Appropriate solutions will depend partly on the nature of the noise, with differing solutions being needed for different sorts of noise. Too complete a concentration on this view of noise would surely produce oppressive hush in schools and a narrowing of the educational opportunities offered. If the importance of dialogue is as high as is claimed by some educators, such a response to noise could even end up being as detrimental to learning as chronic external noise is known to be.

The survey indicates that noise affects individuals in several ways. It results in general disturbance (irritation), headache, loss of sleep/insomnia, stress, improper communication, and reduced efficiency. Though the psycho-somatic effects (annoyance and depression) are also common yet the extreme affects e.g. deafness and mental breakdown are not ruled out. In a majority of cases, the affected party tenders a request to stop noise. A substantial proportion of respondents among various age-groups complain to administration. Interestingly, about one-third of young people (below 20 yrs) prefer to quarrel with the erring party. Public education appears to be the best methods as suggested by the respondents. However, government and NGOs can play a significant role in the process.

5.2. Recommendations

Long and short run noise effects on student’s health were observed in office Technology and management in polytechnics in Imo state. Therefore, some precautions have to be considered to reduce those effects. As a result of this study, the following recommendations are suggested in order to improve schools environments:

  1. The educational institutes have criteria of a good planning for an institutes and it should be located far from main road. And also building schools must be in quiet areas away from main noise sources such as market area, religious place, bus station, factories and other noise sources.
  2. Avoiding the close-shaped buildings like cube-shaped, in order to reduce the sound echo and, therefore, health noise effects. Plantation of trees and construction of sound barriers,
  3. Using sound proof materials and absorbents while constructing all parts of school buildings ( i.e. buildings that have sound insulation system and high fence using concrete walls which protect noise from outside.) For example, using fiber glass has shown good insulation in the contrary of using gypsum (Abdel –Raziq H. R.
  4. Educational institutes should be aware of plantation of trees and vegetation buffer zone because trees and vegetation can absorb 4dB-6 dB noise intensity depending on their characteristics.
  5. Students, Teachers and Public awareness would also helpful in reduction in noise level in educational institutes.
  6. A strict law concerning Environmental Noise in educational institutes should be implemented. 7 – Restricting vehicular movement within or nearby the educational institutes.
  7. Applying Speed limits for vehicles near the educational institutes.
  8. Making a proposal for the ministry of education in order to arrange for more than one break for students during the same working school day.
  9. Further work concerning the accumulation behavior of noises is suggested.

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