13-year-old publishes scientific paper showing hand dryers can damage kids' hearing.

Here's to young female scientists leading the way.

If you've ever been in a public restroom with a small child, you may have heard them complain about the hand dryers or seen them covering their ears as they walk by them.

It turns out, there's a scientific reason for that.

Nora Keegan of Calgary, Canada just published a paper in a medical journal with research proving that hand dryers may be detrimental to children's hearing. But the coolest thing? She's only 13.

When she was younger, Keegan noticed that her ears would sometimes ring after she starting using hand dryers in public restrooms. "I also noticed that children would not want to use hand dryers, and they'd be covering their ears," she told NPR.

So at age nine, she decided to explore whether automatic hand dryers might actually damage children's hearing. Between 2015 and 2017, she tested the volume of 44 hand dryers in public restrooms in Alberta, Canada. Using a decibel meter, she measured the noise levels of different hand dryers from various heights and distances.


We need to fundamentally reexamine how new moms are cared for after childbirth.

Children's hearing is more sensitive than adults, and they hear the blowing from a different angle than adults do. As Keegan points out, "Hand dryers are actually really, really loud, and especially at children's heights since they're close to where the air comes out."

Keegan found that Xlerator brand dryers and two types of Dyson Airblades were the loudest, exceeding 100 decibels. In her study, she noted that volume can lead to "learning disabilities, attention difficulties, and ruptured ear drums."

"My loudest measurement was 121 decibels from a Dyson Airblade model," she told NPR. "And this is not good because Health Canada doesn't allow toys for children to be sold over 100 decibels, as they know that they can damage children's hearing."

Keegan's research confirmed her original hypothesis, and she presented her findings at a Calgary Youth Science fair earlier this year. Then, in June, her study was published in the Canadian journal, Paediatrics & Child Health.

Disney's black Ariel isn't just about diverse representation. It's also about undoing past wrongs.

Keegan's published paper states, "Previous research has suggested that hand dryers may operate at dangerously loud levels for adults. No research has explored whether they operate at a safe level for children's hearing."

"More children lately are getting noise-induced hearing loss, and the more exposure children have to loud noises, the more likely they are to have hearing problems later in life," the study continues. "Children's sense of hearing continues to develop during their first several years of life, and loud noise exposure in this period can damage their hearing development."

The middle-schooler told NPR she hopes her study will lead to more research and eventually prompt Canada to regulate the noise levels of hand dryers.

Here's to young female scientists leading the way!

popular
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular