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Hand Dryer Noise

One of the major concerns for business owners who are looking to invest in high-performance hand dryers is the disruption they may cause. Whether you operate a restaurant, a healthcare facility, or an educational establishment, hand dryer noise is an important consideration to make in avoiding disruption. In an article that was published by Noise & Health in 2015, Shari Salzhauer Berkowitz argues that “occupational noise…can lead to noise-induced hearing loss,” which can pose serious health hazards to workers servicing public restrooms or fixtures throughout the day or at regular intervals. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), janitorial workers should not be exposed to more than 90 A-weighted decibels (dB A) in the period of an eight-hour shift. Otherwise, employees meet what the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) refers to as excess risk, or the risk of developing material hearing impairments based on exposure levels and frequency.

High airflow hand dryers are widely popular for their fast-drying times, but the advanced airflow technology comes at an auditory price. The faster your hand dryers are, the louder they may be. Recent advances in technology have allowed leading manufacturers to create hand dryers that use only a quarter of the energy used by older models. Unfortunately, this energy advantage produces louder hand dryers. Some of the most popular high-efficiency models feature sound pressure levels that range from 80 to 100 dB A. There are “quiet” hand dryers that are uniquely designed to have a lower sound pressure level or approximately 50 to 72 dB A, and these would be an ideal solution for restrooms that need an upgrade and can sacrifice a fast-drying time.

Noise reduction nozzles are another convenient solution for businesses or establishments looking to reduce hand dryer noise without having to buy a brand-new hand dryer. These nozzles reduce the airflow velocity from the discharge, which increases drying time but reduces sound pressure. To properly determine whether hand dryer noise restricts you to certain hand drying models or you should invest in a noise reduction nozzle, Berkowitz’s study further advises that you measure the sound intensity of your dryer at varying distances.

Schools, nursing homes, libraries, hotels, and other venues where quiet is custom will find that hand dryer noise can impact the consumer experience of using your facilities. Most manufacturers provide specification sheets and installation manuals with clear information regarding predicted sound intensity, but they each use their own techniques and assessments to determine dry time and noise. If you have any questions about this buying guide or would like help finding the ideal solution for your facility, contact a member of the today for further assistance.

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