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Knoxville — Graduate students at the University of Tennessee are helping residents of a West Knoxville neighborhood study noise levels along a section of Interstate 40.

James Thelin, an associate professor of audiology and speech pathology at UT, said he was approached by members of the Westwood Neighborhood Association.

“They asked if we would assist them by making noise measurements,” said Thelin, “and half the class agreed to help.”

The students are using portable sound meters to measure the ambient noise at several locations along I-40 near the Papermill Road exit, where the Westwood neighborhood is located.

Homeowners there want the Tennessee Department of Transportation to build a sound barrier along the road widening project, to protect Westwood from road noise.

Once the noise study is complete, the graduate students will send the results to the neighborhood association.

Thelin said it’s a good way to teach real-world concepts to the students.

“This class project requires them to put the principles they’ve learned in the classroom into effect,” said Thelin. “It makes a difference for people and is a real-life experience for the students.”