10:43pm Monday 25 September 2017

Teaching about hearing can save young people's ears

A new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg shows that research-based teaching in school can be used to positively change adolescents’ awareness and behaviour.

Eva WestEva West, doctoral student at the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies, has developed research-based teaching material about sound, hearing and auditory health that she has tested on nearly 200 students in grades 4-8. The students’ knowledge about sound, the function of the ear, hearing and tinnitus was tested before and after the teaching. She also studied the students’ attitudes towards high sound levels.

Challenging for students

The results show that it was challenging for the students to understand the concept of sound and sound transmission due to its abstract nature. Students tend to think of sound as a material phenomenon and not as what it really is: a movement that is transmitted. They for example think that sounds occur when material sound waves collide with the components of air, when in fact material sound waves do not even exist.
‘A teacher who is aware of this perception and who repeatedly assesses the students’ knowledge can plan the teaching accordingly, and thus improve the learning process,’ says Eva West.

Bothered by tinnitus

Five percent of the students indicate that they are often bothered by tinnitus. As many as 35-70 percent, depending on the age of the students, say that they have experienced tinnitus at some point. A majority of the students knew very little about the function of the ear before the teaching, which means that their understanding of the importance of taking good care of one’s hearing was limited.
‘Teaching young people about how hearing works and that there are small hair cells that we need to be careful with may help them better understand messages such as “Be careful with your hearing”,’ says West.
Her results show that the students’ attitudes towards sound levels and hearing were healthier after than before the teaching, and there were also signs that their behaviour changed in a healthy direction.

Eva West wrote her thesis within the framework of the research school in educational science at the Centre for Educational Science and Teacher Research, CUL, University of Gothenburg.

For more information, please contact:
Eva West, telephone: +46 (0)31 786 26 47, +46 (0)736 36 05 43, e-mail: eva.west@ped.gu.se
Eva West presented her doctoral thesis Undervisning och lärande i naturvetenskap. Elevers lärande i relation till en forskningsbaserad undervisning om ljud, hörsel och hälsa (Teaching and learning science – Students’ learning in relation to a research-based teaching of sound, hearing and health; in Swedish with a summary in English) at the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies, Faculty of Education, on Friday 20 January

Link to thesis >>

BY: Torsten Arpi


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