Creating Awareness and Prevention of Hearing Loss to Students at NUI Galway
Noise induced hearing loss is the loss of hearing due to prolonged exposure to loud noises; many people suffer from this and only discover the cause when it is too late. Making people aware of the problem early in life may help prevent hearing loss in the future. This project aims to develop an app to read the noise levels in the current area, tell the user how long they can stay without receiving permanent hearing damage, and notify them when they should take a break or when it is time to leave. The app can provide helpful tips to the user to help them understand how to better protect their hearing, also describing what issues can occur from prolonged exposure to noisy environments. The app will incorporate an online database for the user to keep track of how much noise they are being exposed to each day and for how long. It will be freely available to download to mobile devices including smart phones, tablets and laptops.
Students nowadays are exposed to more noise than ever, listening to iPods, working in noisy nightclubs and even construction site noise around campus. This app will give them the tools to look after their hearing and not only understand the risks, but also how to prevent them. There is currently no technology available that provides this information and allows the user to analyse their personal situation this easily. If people are provided with scientific facts at their fingertips they are much more likely to listen, and hopefully continue listening for many more years. A website will be created to store and share statistical evidence from the participants to indicate where noisy places are, what times of the day people are subjected to loud noises, and simple ways to avoid some of these situations.
We have set up development environments and got in contact with some postgrads who have experience in app development. We decided on the development timeline and investigated existing solutions, their advantages and shortcomings
We are currently developing the app, we are able to take in sound pressure readings we just need to calibrate them to decibels.
At the moment we have an app that can read the sound pressure level and record the readings to a file along with a timestamp and a location inputed by the user. The timestamp and location will provide crucial data while we take lots of readings at numerous locations around campus. This data will help us better analyse where students are putting their hearing at risk the most and hopefully our results will give more awareness to students of this danger.