Date of Award

12-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Qin, Jun

Abstract

Millions of people across the world currently have noise induced hearing loss, and many are working in conditions with both continuous Gaussian and non-Gaussian noises that could affect their hearing. It was hypothesized that the energy of the noise was the cause of the hearing loss and did not depend on temporal pattern of a noise. This was referred to as the equal energy hypothesis. This hypothesis has been shown to have limitations though. This means that there is a difference in the types of noise a person receives to induce hearing loss and it is necessary to build a system that can easily mimic various conditions to conduct research. This study builds a system that can produce both non-Gaussian impulse/impact noises and continuous Gaussian noise. It was found that the peak sound pressure level of the system could reach well above the needed 120 dB level to represent acoustic trauma and could replicate well above the 85 dB A-weighted sound pressure level to produce conditions of gradual developing hearing loss. The system reached a maximum of 150 dB sound peak pressure level and a maximum of 133 dB A-weighted sound pressure level. Various parameters could easily be adjusted to control the sound, such as the high and low cutoff frequency to center the sound at 4 kHz. The system build can easily be adjusted to create numerous sound conditions and will hopefully be modified and improved in hopes of eventually being used for animal studies to lead to the creation of a method to treat or prevent noise induced hearing loss.

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