Impact on vulnerable sub-groups from ultra-rapid hand dryers

Drever, John L.. 2013. Impact on vulnerable sub-groups from ultra-rapid hand dryers. Acoustics Bulletin, 38(6), ISSN 0308-437X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

I have been carrying out a preliminary study on the noise effects from ultra-rapid energy-efficient hand dryers on sensitive subgroups in publicly accessible toilets. The project has studied hand dryer noise in BRE’s Acoustics Laboratory, in situ sound pressure levels in a wide range of toilets and garnered data on the perceived loudness of these devices. On considering the in situ measurements it would be anticipated that someone with normal hearing would experience some discomfort. Operating levels of the most popular dryers are often in the high 90s, the loudest of which in this study generated a sudden LAeq of 106dB from a background of 55dB LAeq. Spurred on from my own son’s terror of hand dryer noise, beyond the sensitivities of infant hearing, I found a wide range of vulnerable sub-groups that were experiencing problems with this style of hand dryer. Taking lead from the WHO’s Community Noise (1999) reference to vulnerable sub-groups, I found particular complaints among the following groups: visual impairment, hearing aid users, Alzheimer's disease, Ménière's disease and, most significantly, hyperacusis sufferers, and hyperacute hearing in autism and Asperger syndrome.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Unit for Sound Practice Research


1 November 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

26 Feb 2021 12:04

Last Modified:

11 Jun 2021 08:59


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