Sound distractions

Just like visual clutter, sound can be really distracting so here are some tips on making an environment successful for learners who have

difficulties processing sound.

Try to cut down echo in the classroom because although you may think that you don’t have echo, you may be surprised. So, move around your room and find out.

Create small sound spaces where learners can hear the sound they need to hear. Sitting in corners, near a wall or next to a divider can help learners to localise sound.

Listen for sound clutter. The wrong sounds in the wrong place can be very distracting. Move learners away from the noisy wall to the next classroom or corridor. Sound clutter can be just as distracting as visual clutter.

Make sure learners with hearing loss or autism can see what you are doing, describing or demonstrating. Then, if some of the sound is missed the visual sense will reinforce the information.

Don’t shout, talk slowly, or constantly ask if somebody has heard what they were supposed to hear. We hear best when there is a natural flow in a voice and sentence; if you break up your speech, the verbal information will be a little like watching a film that stops every five seconds for a short break.


Richard Hirstwood


Looking for practical ideas to create sensory environments within your classroom to support pupils with severe and complex learning needs?

Why not come along to ‘Sshhhh… Sounds Sensory!’ led by Naomi Rosenberg who will give you lots of practical ideas to help learners to engage, interact and develop their communication. 

‘Sshhhh… Sounds Sensory!’

18 November – Manchester

19 November – Birmingham

22 November – London

Loopimal – the looping music app!

Have a look at Loopimal – which is a great easy music creation app for the iPad!