Mining Feature: Learn what a noise-induced hearing loss sounds like

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Graphic representing the HLSim software

Now, even more people can use the NIOSH Hearing Loss Simulator to learn how noise might affect their hearing. This popular tool has been updated with new technology to be available online to run on just about any device that can browse the web.

Noise can steal much of our vibrant engagement with the world, or so sufferers of noise-induced hearing loss tell us. So why don’t we do more to keep from getting exposed to noise? One likely explanation is that we can’t really know how debilitating hearing loss is until it happens to us – but then it’s too late because there’s no cure or treatment.

The NIOSH Hearing Loss Simulator uses sound to demonstrate the experience of hearing loss after being exposed to excessive noise. The user can play a wide variety of included recordings or upload sound files of their choice. They’ll find that spoken words are harder to understand and music sounds duller for someone with noise-induced hearing loss.

Unlike other hearing loss simulations, a powerful feature of the NIOSH is the ability to “dial in” precise amounts of noise exposure, and even add other factors, such as aging and gender. The resulting hearing losses across the audible spectrum are based on scientific studies and international standard algorithms.

“We hope that this new version will reach even more users and convince them to seek out noise controls and find other ways to avoid hazardous noise,” said Bob Randolph, the lead author of the program.

This new version of the Simulator is now a progressive web application, which means that it can run over the Internet or can be installed locally for offline use. It has been tested on common mobile devices and computers and should work on any device that uses a web browser supporting current standards.

The NIOSH Hearing Loss Simulator has been released for public beta testing by a wider range of users to make sure the final release of this software works well for as many potential users as possible.

This updated version of a popular tool complements the many other resources NIOSH is delivering to help prevent noise-induced hearing loss.

Page last reviewed: September 20, 2022
Page last updated: September 6, 2022