The Physician’s Story
Operating rooms require, more than any other workplace, precise communication, and that communication is confounded by a host of factors, commented one surgeon. People are focused on their specific task, like keeping a patient asleep or anticipating an instrument. Everyone has a mask on. And staff may be hearing-impaired themselves. There’s also music and background noise from machines – even occasionally power tools.
The Hikers’ Story
The wind noise interference on a hike often makes it impossible to make conversation with your hiking companions. When this group of friends set out for their hike with companion mics, though, they were able to talk the whole time with very little wind noise interference.
Back in the lab we set out to measure the difference.
The Banquet Story
In 2019, we had the privilege of hearing Hershey Felder at the annual CJE SeniorLife Annual Benefit Banquet, where some 500 guests were seated around 6 foot tables in the Palmer House Hilton Ball room (see Palmer House picture).
The conversations during dinner were enthusiastic, so the noise level reached 80 dBA, at which point we found that it was impossible to understand anyone except for the person seated next to us.
Later, in the MCK Audio lab, we used a KEMAR manikin (with microphones at the “eardrum” positions) for recordings.
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