Sunday, July 18, 2010

Who Cleared Hand Dryers for Take-Off?

After my last post about road noise, my blog pal Daughter Number Three wondered about the noisiness of hand dryers -- particularly the new jet-powered ones that make the skin on your hands look like you are blasting off for the moon. The one that fits the bill is the XLERATOR® which dries your hands in 10-15 seconds.

This l'il fella, at 90-100 dB(A) is almost as noisy as a jet fly-over!

Daughter Number Three was pretty sure it was at least 140 dB(A) or "threshold of pain." Not quite, but you have to wonder if they are taking pitch into account. Fingers on a chalk board aren't that loud but... And did they test it in an actual bathroom with tiles and metal stalls to ricochet those sound waves? 

It is hard to imagine how this product got past any test group at all. Whenever I wait outside a bathroom with an XLERATOR®, I watch people flee the premises with grimaces. 

Perhaps the XLERATOR® is actually designed to keep people from lingering in public restrooms. If people can barely stand going number one, it cuts down on the lines -- not to mention odors and toilet paper use. An added benefit: the noise assault would also discourage Sharpie-wielding folks decorating the stall walls. Sort of like playing classical music to drive away loitering youth.

During my search for decibel levels, I found the Noise Free America website. I am just not sure how I feel about being sandwiched between leaf blowers and muzak. 


  1. I think I used a Dyson Airblade recently, rather than an Xlerator. It was very painful, but it was only on for a brief time. Many of the regular dryers seem worse because they're running for much longer as they slowly fail to dry your hands.

    Maybe my ears are just extra sensitive, although I know I've got the typical midlife hearing loss that means I can't hear ring tones teenagers can hear. (Or you could hear, Carmella.)

    Another advantage of the loud blowers is they would keep Larry Craig from using his wide stance in the airport restrooms.

    One more thing ... that Noise Free America website sure has a funny list of noises. How loud is a Home or About Us?

  2. Heh!

    I can't believe you didn't comment on the Rumbler! I had no idea what that would be. Guess they don't have Rumblers here.

    And there must be some Loud Pipes in the world.

    But I agree, Home, at least, is often a very noisy place.

  3. I've never heard of The Rumbler either, but I gather from this YouTube video ( that it's a new kind of police siren that has heavy bass in it so it gets the attention of the deaf and/or inattentive.