Research on environment-induced frequency-specific hearing loss?
September 18, 2019 1:33 PM   Subscribe

There's a loud server fan in the room next to me at work. It makes a steady drone at roughly 440Hz. I recall reading about how constant exposure to noises like this can induce frequency-specific hearing loss, e.g., you stop hearing the noise's frequency. Can you help me find a link to that research?

I'm building a case that this is a health hazard in addition to being an annoyance. It has been measured at 60db outside of the closed door, which seems low to me based on this list; not loud enough to run afoul of OSHA.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl to Science & Nature (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Check aviation sources. Pilots get a lot noise at constant frequencies. My pilot neighbor said he had hearing loss at particular frequencies.
posted by SemiSalt at 2:37 PM on September 18, 2019 [1 favorite]


Call an audiologist, they will likely be happy to chat with you.
posted by theora55 at 6:21 PM on September 18, 2019


I’m an audiologist.

Without getting into all the details, where sound induced hearing loss occurs is not usually the frequency of the noise. It might be closer if the noise truly is a perfect sinusoid, which is unlikely to be the case. In fact, noise induced hearing loss is usually seen at 3-6 kHz because of the nature of the basilar membrane and the traveling wave.

In any event, 60 dB is not loud enough to cause damage. This is not louder than being in a conversation all day. NIOSH standards are more conservative than OSHA and action isn’t taken until levels are 80 dB for 8 hours a day.

This is annoying, but you are unlikely to have much of a case.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:22 PM on September 19, 2019 [3 favorites]


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