Do you hate the next gen range of hand dryers as much as we do? Our dislike wasn't unfounded, it turns out, as research has revealed that "super fast" hand dryers are causing "unwelcome stress".
The "ultra rapid" cold air hand dryers can have the same impact on the human ear as a road drill at close range, a study suggests.
HuffPost US Lifestyle completely agrees - we have to clamp our hands on our ears and dread it when we see someone heading towards the dryers instead of choosing a paper towel.
Researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London, said that the high speed dryers can cause discomfort to elderly dementia sufferers, affect the navigation of visually-impaired people and even force hearing aid users to turn their devices off when entering public toilets.
An acoustic test in a typical "box shape of a public toilet" found that the sound decibels reached by the dryers could reach 11 times more than those recorded in product testing labs.
And interviews with members of the public found that the devices can have a "negative" impact on some people with hearing or sight problems and dementia sufferers.
Lead author Dr John Levack Drever, head of the unit for sound practice research at Goldsmiths, said: "Manufacturers tend to test hand dryers in ultra-absorbent acoustic laboratories which is perhaps why actual sound levels are so much higher than those advertised.
"From this initial study it is evident that 'ultra rapid' cold air hand dryers are loud, and this loudness is vastly amplified in the highly reverberant and reflective small toilet.
"A wide range of vulnerable subgroups are being seriously affected by hand dryer noise, resulting in unwelcome stress in this sensitive space, and in extreme cases people are being excluded from public spaces, the workplace and schools.
"To solve these issues, we propose that engineers, sound artists and users come together to look at the acoustic space in which these dryers are found and tune the products accordingly to enhance the listening experience and minimise the discomfort that is caused to a whole range of people."
Dan Pescod, campaigns manager at RNIB, a charity for blind and partially sighted people, added: "Anything which masks ambient sounds could be a problem for a person with sight loss, to a greater or lesser degree. As hand dryers are often situated by doors, loud models could increase the likelihood of a person with sight loss having an accident. RNIB suggests that manufacturers should consider this risk when designing hand-dryers."
Slow It Down
"Do whatever you're doing more slowly. Slow down on purpose (not necessarily when you are at work). You can do this almost anytime - while driving, walking, reading, eating, or drinking. You might find at first slowing down drives you a bit crazy, especially if your habit is to rush through your tasks. "But when you find yourself in a hurry, ask yourself, What is all the rush about? You might find you're simply being mindless when you could be mindful. And you can enjoy this life of yours."
Start Your Day With An Intention
"When you get up, or when you arrive at work, set an intention for the day. Decide what you want to experience more of. Stick a post-it to your commuter to remind you what to pay attention to during the day. Maybe you want to see more kindness, efficiency, wisdom, inspiration, creativity, or awareness. "You always will find what you are looking for so pay attention to what that is and anchor your awareness again and again to what really matters to you."
Use Your Inner Compass
"When faced with a choice, pay attention to how you feel, notice the sensations in your body. Express yourself and live with integrity. There's no need to manipulate yourself to please someone else. Ask yourself, "Is it a yes or a no, or a yum or a yuck?" "Move toward the yums and away from the yucks. When making a choice or taking action, relinquish your need for approval from others. You are the wise one. You usually do know best. Trust yourself."
Reconnect With Your Body
"Get in the habit of asking yourself, How do I feel right now? Notice and give yourself some slow deep breaths. The body and breath anchor you to the present moment (unlike the mind which often dwells in the past or future). "Relax your body, whether sitting or standing. Feel your feet on the floor. Notice your weight and balance; relax your arms and hands. Straighten your spine. "Relax your shoulders. Relax your face, your eyes, your jaw, your forehead. Pay attention to your body and breath at least three times a day."
Take Time Out For A Time In
"Sit in silence and meditate for 20 minutes each day. (All at once or two periods of 10 minutes each.) Get your power back and "re-source" your energy. Simply sit down, close your eyes, and as you breathe through your nose gently focus on the natural sensations of your breath. "Don't try too hard. Don't worry about your thoughts. If you get distracted, refocus. Be kind to yourself. The stress will dissipate. "Don't wait for something magical to happen, instead, just do it. Come out slowly and you'll feel happier, more creative, and fulfilled."
Be Here Now
"Your life is taking place one moment at a time. So it's ideal to have your attention on this moment right now. This is where your life is. This moment, like all present moments, is when you have access to your creativity, inspiration, possibilities, even your inner wisdom and your emotions. "When you notice you are focused on or worrying about the future more often than you are paying attention to the present moment, bring your attention back to the present moment by paying attention to your body or your breath."
Make Ordinary Actions Mindful
"It's a practice that helps you to break out of your habitual responses and your 'automatic pilot.' Choose a cue, such as your phone ringing, or passing a particular road sign on your way to work, or drinking a glass of water at your desk. "Use the cue to be completely aware of what you are doing while you are doing it in a non-judgmental way. Bring your attention to the present moment, become aware of all your senses. "Mindfulness reduces stress, increases self-awareness, and makes you aware of the choices available in each moment."
Approach People, Places & Experiences With A Beginner's Mind
"Don't be a know-it-all. Instead, be present with what is actually happening instead of your ideas about it. Maintain a childlike curiosity. For example, go for a walk (without talking on your cell phone) and resist the urge to label or categorise anything. "Notice the actual colors, textures, shapes, temperature, sounds, aromas, space, light, shadows, movement and stillness as each sweetly meets your senses. "Simply experience, rather than label, this world around you. With an open mind, wisdom, inspiration, and support are found everywhere."