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Methods for assessing preschool children's perception and experience of their soundscape. (Invited paper)

Conference paper
Authors Kerstin Persson Waye
Agneta Agge
L Samuelsson
Lotta Dellve
Published in Congress and exposition of noise control engineering Inter-Noise;Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 3-6 December
Pages 8 pages
Publication year 2006
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Pages 8 pages
Language en
Keywords high sound levels, child, pre-school, grounded-theory, perception, emotional experience
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences, Children


Previous investigations indicate that noise may be a serious health problem in preparatory schools. The high sound pressure levels originate mainly from the children’s own activities indoors. Little is known of how preschool children (1-6 years) are affected. To gain a deeper understanding of how preschool-aged children recognize, communicate, perceive and are affected by the soundscape at their preparatory school. This, in order to develop a questionnaire assessing possible adverse effects on children. 36 children (4-6 years old) were interviewed in 18 focus-groups. The interviews were analysed with grounded theory. The children described their experience of sounds related to which consequences the sound had for themselves, the type of sound, their understanding of its source and the communicability of the “sound”. Children described physical symptoms, i.e. pain in ears, stomach, head and also feeling sick. Sounds described as “screaming, crying and angering noise” was experienced as disturbing and threatening. They handled this by avoiding strategies, e.g. withdrawal and “holding their ears”. Squeaking, creaking and scratching noise was described as unexpected and as a physical experience. Background sounds were often non-reflected, unknown sounds, not easy to communicate. Based on the findings a questionnaire was developed.

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