Document Detail

Auditory backup alarms: distance-at-first-detection via in-situ experimentation on alarm design and hearing protection effects.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22317269     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
The purpose of this study was to assess normal hearing listeners' performance in detecting a stationary backup alarm signal and to quantify the linear distance at detection point. Method: Detection distances for 12 participants with normal hearing were measured while they were fitted with 7 hearing protectors and while they were unoccluded (open ear). A standard (narrowband) backup alarm signal and a broadband (pulsed white noise) backup alarm signal from Brigade[1] were used. The method of limits, with distance as the physical measurement variable and threshold detection as the task, was employed to find at which distance the participant could first detect the backup alarms. Results: A within-subject Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) revealed a significant main effect of the listening conditions on the detection distance in feet. Post hoc analyses indicated that the Bilsom L3HV conventional passive earmuff (at 1132.2 ft detection distance) was significantly poorer compared to all other HPDs and the open ear in detection distance achieved, and that there were no statistically-significant differences between the unoccluded ear (1652.3 ft), EB-15-Lo BlastPLGTM (1546.2 ft), EB-15-Hi BlastPLGTM (1543.4 ft), E-A-R/3M Combat ArmsTM earplug-nonlinear, level-dependent state (1507.8 ft), E-A-R/3M HiFiTM earplug (1497.7 ft), and Bilsom ImpactTM dichotic electronic earmuff (1567.2 ft). In addition, the E-A-R/3M Combat ArmsTM earplug-passive steady state resulted in significantly longer detection distances than only the open ear condition, at 1474.1 ft versus 1652.3 ft for the open ear. ANOVA also revealed a significant main effect of the backup alarm type on detection distance. The means were 1600.9 ft for the standard (narrowband) backup alarm signal, and a significantly closer 1379.4 ft was required for the Brigade broadband backup alarm signal. Discussion: For on-ground workers, it is crucial to detect backup alarm signals as far away as possible rather than at close distances since this will provide them more time to react to approaching vehicles. The results of this study suggest that as the attenuation of the hearing protectors increases, precautions should be considered by safety professionals. This is because, as it was the case with the Bilsom passive earmuff and E-A-R/3M Combat ArmsTM earplug-passive steady state, high attenuation minimizes the detection distance and as a result on-foot workers will have less time to react to any approaching vehicle. The main effects of the type of backup alarm signal demonstrated a statistically-significant advantage of the standard backup alarm over the broadband backup alarm on detection distance in feet. The magnitude of the improvement produced by the standard backup alarm was 221.5 feet, a very large margin. For example, with a vehicle backing at 10 mph, the 221.5 ft decrease in detection distance with the Brigade alarm equates to the vehicle arriving 15 seconds sooner at the worker from the point at which its alarm was first heard.
Khaled Alali; John G Casali
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Work (Reading, Mass.)     Volume:  41     ISSN:  1875-9270     ISO Abbreviation:  Work     Publication Date:  2012 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-02-09     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9204382     Medline TA:  Work     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3599-607     Citation Subset:  IM    
Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, Kuwait University, P.O.Box-5969, 13060, Safat, Kuwait, Phone: 965-24983632.
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