Teen Kiwi scientist's traffic-light noise-meter can prevent hearing loss in preschoolers

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Wellington, September 24 (ANI): A 16-year-old Kiwi student has come up with a gadget that can prevent preschoolers from going deaf at child care, due to exposure to excessive noise.

Jamie Fenton, from Inglewood, Taranaki, had developed the noise level meter even when she was only 10.

The National Foundation for the Deaf is now commercially producing her invention.

Jamie built the traffic-light noise-meter system with the help of her father.

"The idea came from my classroom where we had a behaviour system which the teacher would monitor using the red, yellow and green of the traffic lights," stuff.co.nz quoted her as saying.

"Red meant we couldn't talk at all, yellow meant a little bit of talking and green meant we could talk as we liked. We hardly ever reached green," she added.

Jamie said that she decided to make an electronic device based on her idea after seeing her teachers struggling to monitor the noise levels.

The first model, an entry in a school science fair, used an old toolbox with coloured cellophane to represent the lights.

It won a merit in the fair, was posted on a local science website, and then banished to the garage for "years".

Wanting a device to monitor noise levels in classrooms, the deaf foundation finally stumbled across Jamie's design.

"They thought it would be good to have a New Zealand student to develop a system rather than buying an expensive American model," Jamie said.

"It will be cheaper for them to produce and it's also an opportunity for me," she added.

The teenaged girl will work with the foundation on perfecting the device.

Christine Fenton, Jamie's mother, has revealed that tests at the dinner table have shown that her daughter's device works by flashing red when noise exceeds 80 decibels.

"Jamie's sisters have managed to get it to the red setting," she said.

The foundation has also offered its designer a scholarship to university, besides any royalties as payment.

Jamie thinks the chance for her invention to go public is fantastic.

"It's good to have it used for a purpose. Lots of school science projects just have their potential wasted and it can be disheartening," she said.

Many centres are said to have welcomed the idea of meters to enable teachers to monitor and manage noise levels. (ANI)

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