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As part of our program, we teach our audience the significance of everyday loud noises and where they register on the decibel scale.

Recently, my family and I fell ill, causing my young son to have an accident which resulted in having to wash our rug the following day. Fortunately, I had purchased a carpet shampooer a couple of years ago to facilitate moving houses without having to rent one. While I was grateful for having the carpet shampooer, I found it to be excessively loud despite being a small machine with power suction, which is to be expected. Every time I used it, I felt like my eardrums were being pierced by nails. This is worsened by my tinnitus, which operates on the same frequency as most high-pitched sounds.

Being in this industry, I quickly grabbed my earplugs to ease the distress. While the operating manual indicated that the machine should not exceed 83dB and most sounds above 85dB are considered “unsafe". I downloaded the Sound Meter app from Google Play Store to measure the output. I found that it measured at 79dB, indicating that the machine was not too loud. However, I will continue to use earplugs to protect my hearing, given that there are many things in our homes that may be louder than we think.

My measurements

Carpet shampooer - 79dB

Electric hand mixer - 73 dB

Screeching 2-year-old boy - 79.9dB (he’s still safe)

Running tap water (full) - 73dB

Flushing toilet - 79dB

Living room noises - 52dB

That’s just a very short list of everyday noises in my house. Today wasn’t washing or garden day so I’ll safe those measurements for next time.

I love my carpet shampooer but despite the manufacturer's safety recommendations, it is always important to listen to your body and take preventative care of your senses. Protecting your hearing is crucial because once it is lost, it is impossible to restore it to its natural state. Let us hope that technology and the medical field can make breakthroughs that render our efforts unnecessary.

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