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Over 30 million Americans suffer from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Current governmental regulation of workplace noise
focuses on the Equal Energy Hypothesis (EEH) which states that equal amounts of sound energy will produce equal amounts of
hearing loss. However, many research projects demonstrated that different types of noise, even with equal sound energies, produce
different amounts of hearing loss. Our research is focused on replicating noise encountered in the workplace in order to better study
the effects of such noise. A digital noise exposure system has been developed which is capable of replicating impulse and continuous
Gaussian noise, and it can be used to study NIHL in a chinchilla model. Impulse noise with peak sound pressure level (SPL) up to 160 dB
can be produced, which effectively mimics the noise generated by a military weapon (e.g. M-16 rifle). In addition, continuous Gaussian
noise with peak SPL up to 140 dB can be created, which is well above the 85 dB recommended exposure limit established by the National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The system also allows us to weight the sound according to the relative soundness
as perceived by the human ear. This weighting creates a more accurate parameter by which to analyze results. This allows for the study
of the effects of gradually increasing exposure levels on hearing. In summary, the digital noise exposure system replicates environmental
noise allowing researchers to study hearing loss in a controlled situation.
Jun Qin is an Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Engineering Program and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Southern
Illinois University Carbondale. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from Duke University in 2008. His research focuses on noise detection and measurement,
complex noise induced hearing loss, sensor and instrumentation, data acquisition, and ultrasonic applications. Dr. Qin?s scientific work has been
published in prestigious journals and proceedings. He is a member of professional associations and serves as a reviewer for several international
journals and proceedings.
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