Child sets out to prove hand dryers are too loud

28th of August 2019
Child sets out to prove hand dryers are too loud

Hand dryers are too loud for children, according to a nine-year-old Canadian girl who set out to prove her theory in a science project.

Nora Keegan struggled with the noise made by washroom hand dryers and noticed other children putting their fingers in their ears when the dryers were in operation,

She then visited a number of public washrooms in her home city of Calgary and took auditory measurements from dryers of various brands. Her readings covered a range of parameters including the loudness of the hand dryer at the height of an average three-year-old's ear canals plus the sound at average ear-height for both men and women.

She also took readings from 12 inches and 18 inches away from the dryer. Manufacturers routinely test the sound made by dryers 18 inches away from the wall, but Nora suspected that children often stand nearer to the dryer which means they are closer to the noise.

According to Nora, auditory tests carried out by hand dryer manufacturers often fail to take into account the height of children - and nearly four years later her instincts have been proved right. The Canadian Journal for Paediatrics and Child Health has now published Nora's findings in the form of a research paper.

Nora hopes her study will encourage companies to rethink dryers. "I hope it has an influence on manufacturers to change their testing methods because the hand dryers were way louder than they claimed," she said. "I don't think they measured them in real life conditions."


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