9-year-old researcher!

Institute of Noise Control Engineering – USA (INCE USA) is hosting Noise-Con 2020  from the 16th – 20th November 2020 and the really interesting program this year includes a very special speaker.

Remember the name Nora Keegan

Canadian Nora Keegan is one of the key note speakers this year and she will discuss some of her findings about how the noise of hand dryers can affect children’s hearing.

She has performed hundreds of sound level measurements (20 different conditions for 44 hand dryers, resulting in 880 hand dryer sound level measurements to be concrete) and her research was published in 2019 a paper in Pediatrics & Child Health under the title: Children who say hand dryers ‘hurt my ears’ are correct: A real-world study examining the loudness of automated hand dryers in public places.

Sometimes after using hand dryers my ears would start ringing, I also noticed that children would not want to use hand dryers, and they’d be covering their ears. Nora Keegan to NPR

9-year-old researcher

The study itself is relevant and interesting – but most impressively Nora started to collect data when she was 9 years old! And her work got published when she was in eighth grade.

It is not often that acoustic research is picked up by major worldwide media but this time her research has been featured in The New York Times, NPR, CBC, Good Morning America, CNN, Today and numerous other news media outlets around the world.


Nora’s research revealed that no research has explored whether hand dryers operate at a safe level for children’s hearing despite the fact that dryers are often placed right at children’s ear heights and they exceed Canadian regulations for children’s toys.

The study showed that two types hand dryers posed the greatest threats to children’s hearing. These types exceed 100 decibels – and one of the loudest measurement was 121 decibels! To compare Health Canada prohibits the sale of toys with peak loudness greater than 100 dB. Some units operated at low sound levels yet still many units were louder at children’s ear heights than at adult ear heights.


Acoustics miscellaneous 234 Events 90 Healthcare Environments 147 Psychoacoustics 40 Research 173 Uncategorized 63

Related Blog Posts