Accommodation Solutions Online

Reduce Background Noise

Reducing background noise refers to minimizing sounds and noises that can interfere with a student's ability to concentrate on what is to be learned. Background noise can impact learning for students who are highly distractible, those with hearing impairments or auditory processing disorder or those who are visually impaired and cannot use body language or other visual clues to assist them in learning.

Background noise in a classroom or testing environment can be caused by fans, outside noises in hallways or be as simple as other students talking. It may be reduced by closing doors and windows, turning off devices not in use, or using noise-reducing devices (e.g. headphones, earplugs, white noise machines). Students who have hearing impairments or auditory processing disorders may not be able to separate the lecturer's voice from other sounds. Visually impaired students are dependent on hearing the lecture and may not be able to focus on the lecturer’s voice if other sounds particularly in their immediate vicinity are louder. Students who are highly distractible may have difficulty refocusing attention on the lecture or instructions.



Students are responsible for providing documentation to the services for students with disabilities office of their disability. They are also responsible for informing faculty if they are encountering problems with background noise in the classroom.


It is the responsibility of faculty to coordinate with the student to reduce background noise in the classroom in a manner that maintains the student’s confidentiality and privacy.


Administration Responsibilities The services for students with disabilities office is responsible for notifying faculty of the student’s need for reduced background noise and for facilitating communication between faculty and the student.


Related Functional Characteristics

Blindness : Reducing background noise and auditory distractions helps students who are blind to hear and focus on important information.

Hearing Loss : Background noise and auditory distractions in the classroom can be amplified by a student’s hearing aid or assistive listening device making it difficult for them to learn.

Sensory Distractibility : Background noise can be a significant problem for students who suffer from distractibility as it impacts their ability to concentrate.

Processing Deficit (Auditory) : Reducing the background noise and auditory distractions in the classroom can allow a student to better concentrate on what is being said.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.