Re: X-Bar Switch Noise Levels

Audrey Nardachi>> I am trying to find out what typical Central Office switch room noise

>> levels were for #5X-Bar, 4A-XBar and XBar Tandem switchers >> manufactured by Western Electric and Nortel (formerly Northern >> Electric Company of Canada). If you know of any source for this info, >> I would appreciate it. I've scoured the NET but haven't been able to >> find anything but then again, I'm not an Internet search wizard. >> There seems to be a large number of us old X-bar Techs who now suffer >> from hearing loss and we may be able to get workman's compensation to >> help us with hearing aid costs if we can produce some data for the >> Workman's Compensation Board. > My personal suspicion is that the levels varied considerably depending on > time and place and the number of calls active at any given time. > You may want to contact the Telephone Museum in Seattle, which has an > operating #5 crossbar. If they have any sort of traffic simulator > hooked up to it, it should be possible to measure SPL under various > simulated loads. It might be an interesting exercise. > Note that during much of the era when crossbar switches were in use, > exposure-related deafness was not very well understood. Not > surprisingly, a lot of the early research on environmental hearing > loss was done by Bell Labs. --scott > "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis." > [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I know that in the early/middle 1960's > the Chicago-Wabash central office -- in fact all of Chicago -- was > either crossbar or stepping switch and you could hear it a block away > on a hot summer night walking down the street, mainly because they > did not have air conditioning in those days and all the windows would > be open wide. When it started to rain, someone would go around and > close all the windows. Quite deafening. PAT]

Having worked in both types of offices, I would say that more damage would have been done in Step office. I know that during peak times the noise was unreal, in the Satt room it was worse. I had my ears cleaned and could not work for a couple of days until my ears adjusted. Box electronic offices are nice, but not as fun. By the way, some 20 years in these type of offices and have no hearing problems, maybe I was lucky, also no problems because of using computers either.

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Steven Lichter
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