High levels of noise pollution could affect learning and contribute to inequalities, experts warned.
The study looked at noise levels at schools in Barcelona, Spain, and their impact on 2,680 pupils aged seven to 10.
Researchers concluded exposure to traffic noise at school – but not at home – was associated with slower development of memory and attentiveness. They found this could affect pupils’ learning and recommended policies to protect schools from noise pollution.
Prof Trevor Cox, of Salford University, said: “Arguably, the effect of noise on student learning in schools is the worst aspect of environmental noise.
“Addressing noise is particularly important for equality because schools in disadvantaged areas are usually on noisier sites.”