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Hand Dryer Hearing Loss: Is New Technology Taking Its Toll On Your Ears?

by Alexandra Kilpatrick

If there weren't enough negative health effects caused by modern technologies, there certainly are now. You can add hand dryers of all things to the list.

According to a recent study, the relatively new super-fast hand dryers can cause moderate to severe hearing damage, comparable to the negative impact a pneumatic drill at close range would have on your hearing.

Hand Dryer Hearing Loss: Were Safety Tests Performed?

This discovery raises the question: How have these hand dryers passed safety testing? Since product testing laboratories tend to be significantly larger than the typical public restroom, the safety testing conditions proved somewhat inaccurate and the final results therefore irrelevant.

Researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London tested the acoustics in a box-shaped lab, similar to a public restroom. The study found that the noise levels in this lab were eleven times as high as the ones reported by product testing labs.

Amplification In the Restroom

Dr. John Levack Drever, head of the Goldsmiths sound practice research unit, comments that the difference in results was affected by the great absorbence of acoustic lab environments, which diminish noise considerably, compared to the real outcome in public restrooms. The restrooms' reflective and reverberant surroundings produce an opposite effect and amplify the noise.

Levack recommends conducting the safety tests in a more realistic environment and collaborating with engineers and sound artists to tune the products properly, so that the hand dryers make less noise in typical reverberant locations.

Hand Dryer Hearing Loss and the Elderly

The noise levels caused by these hand dryers have several negative effects, especially for minorities. Elderly dementia and Alzheimer's sufferers experience discomfort and confusion while the blind and vision-impaired experience difficulty navigating when loud noises occur. For hearing aid wearers, the noise reaches such unbearably loud levels that they're often forced to turn off their devices when using a public restroom.

Whether you work in a loud environment like a construction site or runway or you listen to loud music frequently, any prolonged or extreme exposure to loud noises can result in hearing loss.

Even unexpected factors like ototoxic drugs and teeth grinding can damage your hearing. To ensure that your aural organs are working properly, have a doctor check them out.

Hand dryer hearing loss is a growing issue. There are groups of people who are suffering in an environment where they may be unprepared for sudden decibel amplification. If you would like learn more about hand dryer hearing loss or other technological setbacks to hearing health, please stay tuned to FindHearingAids.com, where you can stay up-to-date on hearing news and trends. Contact our team of representatives today if you are interested in speaking to a hearing care professional, or if you feel that you have suffered from hand dryer hearing loss.

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