Schools and Colleges

What do you need to do?

  • Establish whether your employees are at risk. Carry out a noise risk assessment
  • You can control, reduce and monitor exposure to noise
  • Many of the controls are simple and cost-effective
  • The students and teachers can still enjoy the learning experience with the controls in place

Steps you can take to reduce exposure to noise include:

Lesson planning:

  • Revise structure of lessons to reduce numbers in class playing instruments at any one time
  • Alternate loud and quiet sessions so that exposure to loud noise is limited
  • The volume of any recorded music played in class should be reduced to a level below the first action value
  • Select music to practise so that there is a variety of sound levels over the week

Private tuition:

  • Keep your own record of weekly exposure

Teaching rooms:

  • Select a room appropriate for the activity being undertaken. Highly reverberant rooms should be avoided. Choose the largest room for the loudest instrument
  • Instruct students to maintain lowest volume, e.g. soft beaters for percussion, mutes on brass when practising and play only at the composed levels in main rehearsal and performance
  • If using headphones for listening, make sure they are noise limited or noise cancelling

Rehearsals and performance:

Acoustic controls:

  • Use acoustic controls such as screens, drapery and flooring.
  • Use a room that has been fitted with sound absorbent materials and other acoustic treatments
  • Also look at information on venues

Layout and position:

  • Allow a minimum of two square metres of space for each performer
  • Use of risers to separate performers from the sound of other players' instruments
  • Find out more about layout and positioning (after taking this link look under Layout)

Information, instruction and training

  • If employees understand the risks of noise exposure, they will be more likely to protect their own and their colleagues' hearing
  • Awareness of noise risks and controls is very important, as people will then take notice of the risks and use any risk-reduction measures properly. People in the industry have to be made aware of the potential for permanent hearing damage associated with working in a very noisy environment
  • Employers should try to ensure that employees understand the need to follow the employer's or venue operator's suitable and sufficient instructions. Employers must provide suitable information, training and instruction for their employees and those involved in productions, events, and performances
  • The role of middle management and supervisors in developing and applying a successful noise policy is important. Their training and instruction is a high priority.

You'll find more detailed information in:

Personal hearing protection:

  • Use only after all other ways of controlling noise have been examined, or in the short term.
  • Use protection designed for musicians.
  • Find out more about hearing protection.

Hearing health checks: make sure people at risk are regularly monitored

You'll find more detailed information in: