Feb.19, 2014, Hyperacusis suffers are looking at sound meters as a way to help doctors understand their needs for a more silent world.
Support groups are more than just people getting together to complain about aches and pains. They are there to help members in not only the worst of times but also to support, encourage and share news of progress. As well as brainstorm, more and more hyperacusis suffers are using sound meters to help document their own individual case study.
Did you know that your oh so quiet office can register on a sound meter between 45dB-70dB (decibels). The difference could be a number of reason air units, how many computers are in the room, fax machine, phones, and people.
The more things that cause sound the higher the range gets. One needs to also take into account the space in the room; you do not want to give sound too much space to bounce around. An empty room = echo effect.
Sound meters measure sound in decibels. The decibel is the unit used to measure the intensity of sound. We have found a great website for you that can explain this more clearly; this website is “How Stuff Works”. Simply put our ears can hear a pin drop to airplanes in the sky.
Have you ever had a co-worker who seemed to talk louder than others in the room did? You would be surprised, 80dB = loud co-worker.
We have provided a link to a chart where you can see the many different levels people hear sound. Just remember a hyperacusis suffer may be hearing it 3x, 5x, maybe even 10x louder than you.
Chart: Noise Comparisons
Sound meters are becoming a useful tool for those with hyperacusis. Many people do not know what hyperacusis is. You say sound sensitivity and it really does not define hyperacusis in terms people can comprehend the meaning of this disability.
One needs to keep in mind; sound meters measure the intensity of a sound. However, the level of which a person with hyperacusis hears sound is not known because it is not measureable at this time.
Example: A perfectly running passenger car can measure 70dB. Depending on the cause of the patients case study, damage level and sensitivity range; one hyperacusis suffer might hear the sound 3x as loud while another may hear it 10x as loud.
This is why research is so important. It would be great if there were a way doctors could determine just how loud each individual case study; person suffering from hyperacusis is hearing every day sounds.
You can download a sound meter to your computer, ipad and phones. All you have to do is google “sound meters” or “noise meters”, go to the app store and type in “decibel” or “decibel meter”. You can even buy a sound meter from your local store such as Radio Shack or Walmart .
Sound meters can be useful in several ways for those suffering from hyperacusis. By documenting specific sounds that cause discomfort, severe pain, or other symptoms such as sounds that trigger their migraines, vertigo, nausea, hearing loss etc. One can be prepared and have their protective hearing devices on hand.
This information would also be of great use to doctors. Because now it’s not just the patient trying to remember every sound that causes them pain and discomfort it’s documentation something a doctor can look at and hopefully better help the patient.
Employers would be better able to accommodate the needs of people suffering from hyperacusis if they used a sound meter to explore where the most dangerous sounds are.
Please keep in mind there are some exception to this rule as one never knows when a truck is going to start backing up and put on their flashing lights and that horrible beeping warning sound. Nor does one ever no when something is going to be dropped or tossed.
However, it is a small step in the direction of finding ways to accommodate the needs of people suffering from hyperacusis not only in the workplace but also in everyday life.
Maybe we need to revisit are all those warning sounds helpful or harmful.?