Are Public Restrooms Damaging Our Hearing?
Environmental News

Are Public Restrooms Damaging Our Hearing?

All that whooshing and flushing may create unsafe noise levels for everyone.

Posted Aug 19, 2019

I have been flying a lot lately, which means plenty of time in airport bathrooms. Many have made huge strides in cleanliness and a large number are now more eco-friendly, but they have also gotten louder – dangerously so in some cases. 

If it is isn’t the deafening swoosh of the self-flushing toilets, it is the new high-speed hand dryers running perpetually. Both are high-pitched sounds, so for someone like me with relatively strong high-pitched hearing, the volumes are excruciating. What is a hearing aid wearing traveler to do? 


Source: Pixabay

As an environmentalist and germaphobe, I applaud many of the modern advances. Automatically flushing toilets, faucets that turn on without a touch, and hand dryers that replace paper towels have many ecological and health benefits. But as someone with hearing loss, these improvements can also be painful — my hearing aids amplifying every powerful flush and hand dryer blast.

In a busy airport restroom, the hand dryers can be running almost constantly — many clocking in at 85 decibels or more! One common model, the

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