A study suggests that playing white noise in the background of a classroom may help children with attention problems focus on what their teachers are saying but may impede learning for others.
Published last week on the website for the journal Behavioral and Brain Functions, the study involved 51 students in Swedish secondary schools who were asked to recall words read to them under two different conditions—a classroom in which white noise was being played and one that was quieter. While children who were judged to have attention problems were able to recall more words in the white-noise environment, performance suffered under that condition for children without attention problems.
Researchers stressed that more studies are needed to see if the findings hold up in other classrooms.
A version of this article appeared in the October 06, 2010 edition of Education Week as Attention Problems