You’ve probably seen small children covering their ears in public restrooms when the hand dryers are on, or heard them complain about the noise.
Well, it turns out there’s a scientific reason for it.
Nora Keegan is a 13-year-old student from Calgary, Canada, who recently published a paper in a medical journal that featured a research which proved that hand dryers may be detrimental to children’s hearing.
Did we mention that she’s only 13 years old?
Keegan had noticed that her ears would ring after she had started using hand dryers in public restrooms, and she had also noticed that children would not want to use hand dryers, and they’d be covering their ears.
She decided to explore whether automatic hand dryers might actually damage children’s hearing, and she tested the volume of 44 hand dryers between 2015 and 2017 in public restrooms in Alberta, Canada.
She used a decibel meter to measure the noise levels of different hand dryers from various distances.
She points out that children’s hearing is more sensitive than adults, and they hear the blowing from a different height and angle than adults.
As we all know, hand dryers are actually very loud, especially at children’s heights, because they stand close to where the air comes out.
What she found out is that Xlerator brand dryers and Dyson brand dryers were the loudest, exceeding 100 decibels.
She noted in her study that volume can lead to “learning disabilities, attention difficulties, and even ruptured ear-drums”.
Her loudest measurement was 121 decibels, and that’s not good because Health Canada doesn’t allow toys for children with over 100 decibels to be sold.
Keegan presented her research at a Calgary Youth Science fair, and her study was published in the Canadian journal Paediatrics & Child Health.
Her publishing paper states that previous research had suggested that hand dryers may operate at dangerously loud levels for adults, but more children are getting noise-induced hearing loss lately, and the more exposure children have to loud noises, the more likely they are to have hearing problems later in life.