Hearing loss affects over 15% of American adults either through genetics, age, or noise. Since we can’t change our genes or reverse time the only thing we can do to prevent hearing loss is to protect our ears. Loud noises, along with prolonged exposure, damage the cells within our ears. When damaged, these cells cannot process sound waves leading to partial or complete hearing loss. Loud working environments such as factories, airports, and construction sites require hearing protection ranging from in ear earplugs to earmuffs that cover the entire ear. Even everyday noises can affect us, unaware of the potential damage. Playing loud music, using in ear headphones, and even mowing the lawn, can affect hearing. In this experiment students will design a hearing protection device to eliminate as much noise as possible.
Students will design a hearing protection device to protect their ears from loud noises.
Students will design their own protective hearing device. Use these steps to aid in the design.
- How can we stop sound from entering our auditory system? What blocks out more sound, covering our ears with our hands or plugging our ears with our fingers?
- Examine the properties of current protective hearing devices. What materials are they made out of? Why are those materials used?
- Is your design practical and comfortable? In what situations are protective hearing devices needed? Can you go about your daily routine wearing the device?