Improved Signal-to-Noise Ratio and Classroom Performance in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systematic Review

  • Yolanda van der Kruk
  • Wayne J. Wilson
  • Kelsey Palghat
  • Cerys Downing
  • Keely Harper-Hill
  • Jill Ashburner
Review Paper



This paper systematically reviews the literature to determine if improving the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) improves classroom performance in students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


Six databases were searched for the terms acoustics, signal-to-noise ratio, classroom and ASD. Five studies were found that met the selection criteria.


All five studies reported improving the SNR benefitted students with ASD in the classroom. Benefits included improved listening behaviours, increased on-task behaviours, improved speech recognition and reduced listening stress.


The evidence is suggestive that improving the SNR improves classroom performance in students with ASD. Limitations included the small number of studies and limited range of technologies considered. Further research should consider other technologies that could mitigate tactile sensitivities present in some students with ASD.


Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) Frequency modulation (FM) Soundfield amplification (SFA) Classroom acoustics Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) 



The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC), established and supported under the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Program.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Competing Interests

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yolanda van der Kruk
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wayne J. Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kelsey Palghat
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cerys Downing
    • 1
    • 2
  • Keely Harper-Hill
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jill Ashburner
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC)BrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.School of Cultural and Professional LearningQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Autism QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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