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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 60  |  Page : 244--252

The impact of aircraft noise exposure on South African children's reading comprehension: The moderating effect of home language

Department of Psychology and the School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
Joseph Seabi
Private Bag 3, Department of Psychology, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, 2050
South Africa
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Source of Support: National Research Foundation (NRF) and Carnegie Corporation of New York, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.102963

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Given the limited studies conducted within the African continent, the purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of chronic aircraft noise exposure and the moderating effect of home language on the learners' reading comprehension. The sample comprised 437 (52%) senior primary learners exposed to high levels of aircraft noise (Experimental group) and 337 (48%) learners residing in a quieter area (Control group). Of these, 151 learners in the Experimental group spoke English as a first language (EFL) and 162 spoke English as a second language (ESL). In the Control group, the numbers were similarly divided (EFL n = 191; ESL n = 156). A univariate General Linear Model was used to investigate the effects of aircraft noise exposure and language on reading comprehension, while observing for the possible impact of intellectual ability, gender, and socioeconomic status on the results. A significant difference was observed between ESL and EFL learners in favor of the latter (F 1,419 = 21.95, P =.000). In addition a substantial and significant interaction effect was found between the experimental and control groups for the two language groups. For the EFL speakers there was a strong reduction in reading comprehension in the aircraft noise group. By contrast this difference was not significant for the ESL speakers. Implications of the findings and suggestions for further research are made in the article.


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