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There’s an App for That!

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Using Your Smartphone to Measure Noise Levels

People of all ages and all walks of life are sometimes at risk for exposure to harmful noises that damage the sensitive structure of the inner ear and can cause temporary or permanent noise-induced hearing loss(NIHL).

Excessive noise from activities like live concerts, working with shop tools, operating lawn mowers, and even things you might not expect like attending parades and watching fireworks can damage these delicate hair cells. Noise exposure can result in annoying tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or hearing loss

But, how do you know when loud is too loud?

With the help of modern technology we can now easily measure the intensity or decibel level of sounds around us. Below are some Smartphone decibel meter apps – they warn users when entering into situations that reach noise levels high enough to contribute to potential hearing loss. 

Decibel X

iOS and Android

iTunes rating: 4.5 stars

Google Play rating: 3.8 stars

FREE

This highly-rated, free app turns your smartphone into a pre-calibrated, accurate and easily portable sound level meter. It has a standard measurement range from 30 to 130 dB. It boasts many features for measuring the intensity of sound around you built into a nicely-designed, intuitive user interface. 

 

Sound Meter

Android

Google Play rating: 4.7 stars

FREE

The Sound Meter app can calibrate itself for your specific device. The interface features a gauge for displaying sound intensity levels as well as green, yellow and red indicators for safety. A potential limitation is that because maximum decibel levels are limited by some devices, you may not be able to measure sounds over 90 dB. This app is a good auxiliary option for most uses, but is not recommended if you need to measure very high noise levels. 

Too Noisy Pro

iOS and Android

iTunes rating: 4 stars

Google Play rating: 3.6 stars

$3.99

This easy-to-use app is built specifically for measuring noise levels in environments where there are groups of children. Teachers can use the Too Noisy app to keep watch on the sound levels in the classrooms and control the noise level. The interface is simple and designed so children will respond to it. Teachers and other childcare workers can adjust the sensitivity of the app, too. 

NIOSH Sound Level Meter

iOS

iTunes rating: 4.5 stars

FREE

Developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), this app is exclusive to iPhone and is a useful tool for anyone working in noisy environments. It can raise employees' awareness about the noise levels in their workplace, help them make informed decisions about their hearing health and determine when hearing protection is necessary.

 

The mobile nature of the smartphone makes it easy to take control of your health and hearing wherever you are and avoid activities or locations that may be detrimental to healthy hearing. 

If you think you may already have been exposed to too much noise and are experiencing tinnitus or hearing loss, schedule an appointment with one of our Doctors of Audiology for a hearing assessment.  We want to ensure you maintain optimum hearing for a lifetime.

Brande Plotnick, MS, MBA, Healthy Hearing
Sandra Miller, Au.D, Complete Hearing