Real-ear acoustical characteristics of impulse sound generated by golf drivers and the estimated risk to hearing: a cross-sectional study
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Objectives: This study investigated real-ear acoustical characteristics in terms of the sound pressure levels (SPLs) and frequency responses in situ generated from golf club drivers at impact with a golf ball. The risk of hearing loss caused by hitting a basket of golf balls using various drivers was then estimated. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: The three driver clubs were chosen on the basis of reflection of the commonality and modern technology of the clubs. The participants were asked to choose the clubs in a random order and hit six twopiece range golf balls with each club. The experiment was carried out at a golf driving range in South Wales, UK. Participants: 19 male amateur golfers volunteered to take part in the study, with an age range of 19–54 years. Outcome measures: The frequency responses and peak SPLs in situ of the transient sound generated from the club at impact were recorded bilaterally and simultaneously using the GN Otometric Freefit wireless real-ear measurement system. A swing speed radar system was also used to investigate the relationship between noise level and swing speed. Results: Different clubs generated significantly different real-ear acoustical characteristics in terms of SPL and frequency responses. However, they did not differ significantly between the ears. No significant correlation was found between the swing speed and noise intensity. On the basis of the SPLs measured in the present study, the percentage of daily noise exposure for hitting a basket of golf balls using the drivers described above was less than 2%. Conclusions: The immediate danger of noise-induced hearing loss for amateur golfers is quite unlikely. However, it may be dangerous to hearing if the noise level generated by the golf clubs exceeded 116 dBA.
Zhao, F. and Bardsley, B. (2014) 'Real-ear acoustical characteristics of impulse sound generated by golf drivers and the estimated risk to hearing: a cross-sectional study', BMJ Open, 4(1), p.e003517.
Article published open access in BMJ Open available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003517
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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