Contributed by Lisa Packer, staff writer
April 13, 2015
With the growing popularity of smartphone apps, the newest way to measure sound level might be in your back pocket or purse. The latest statistics show that 71 percent of all people over the age of 18 own a smartphone; that means 171 million people have access to millions of apps. And with so many apps to choose from, it makes sense there would be one to measure noise levels. These apps aren’t just for fun; they are being used increasingly to measure occupational noise levels or noise in the workplace.
Hearing loss as a result of harmful noise in the workplace is a significant issue. More than 22 million workers in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous noise levels each year and there are over 20,000 cases of occupational noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) reported each year alone. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines for occupational noise exposure, recommended noise levels should be controlled at or below 85 decibels (dB) for eight hours. Many in noisy occupations are turning to sound level meter apps, or SLMs, for noise level information.