Dr John Levack Drever, the author of the report, suggested that some individuals have been “seriously affected” by the noise, and they’ve even been known to be as loud as a road drill.
Dr Drever remarked, “Manufacturers tend to test hand dryers in ultra-absorbent acoustic laboratories which is perhaps why actual sound levels are so much higher than those advertised.
He then added, “From this initial study it is evident that ‘ultra rapid’ cold air hand dryers are loud, and this loudness is vastly amplified in the highly reverberant and reflective small toilet. A wide range of vulnerable subgroups are being seriously affected by hand dryer noise, resulting in unwelcome stress in this sensitive space, and in extreme cases people are being excluded from public spaces, the workplace and schools.”
Dan Pescod, the campaigns manager at the Royal National Institute of Blind People, is now worried that blind people could have an accident due to the noise from the dryers.
Mr Pescod remarked, “Anything which masks ambient sounds could be a problem for a person with sight loss, to a greater or lesser degree. As hand dryers are often situated by doors, loud models could increase the likelihood of a person with sight loss having an accident. RNIB suggests that manufacturers should consider this risk when designing hand-dryers.”
Dr Drever then added: “To solve these issues, we propose that engineers, sound artists and users come together to look at the acoustic space in which these dryers are found and tune the products accordingly to enhance the listening experience and minimise the discomfort that is caused to a whole range of people.”
Have you ever been affected by the noise level of a hand dryer?