03 Mar

2017

NIOSH debuts new App to Measure Sound Levels in the Workplace

posted by: Karen Spottiswood

Need to Measure Sound Levels in the Workplace?

Given how important occupational noise levels are to worker safety and quality of life, NIOSH debuts new App to Measure Sound Levels in the Workplace (NIOSH SLM) for iOS devices available on iTunes.  The app is free, easy to use and gives users immediate feedback about sound levels and noise exposure where they’re working.  It also allows users to save and share SLM data with others via social media.

NIOSH estimates that 22 million workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels every year.  The NIOSH SLM app can be used by safety and health professionals and industrial hygienists as a practical tool to collect noise exposure data, and by workers to make informed decisions about the potential hazards to their hearing in the workplace. The app allows the user to acquire and display real-time noise exposure data and help promote better hearing health and better prevention efforts.  View the video for a demonstration of the app’s features.

The NIOSH SLM app, when used with an external calibrated microphone, measured sound levels within ± 1 dB of the reference SLM over the testing range of 65 -95 dB SPL in the laboratory.  NIOSH states: “While the app is not meant to replace a professional sound level meter or a noise dosimeter or be used for compliance purposes, we recommend that those interested in making proper noise measurements use an external microphone that can be calibrated with an acoustical calibrator for improved accuracy.”

Unfortunately, the app is currently only for iOS which means it can’t be used on android systems – only iPhones and iPads.  According to NIOSH, IOS systems are cross-compatible and optimized for audio applications.  With Android systems, microphone specifications are different for the many different manufacturers which makes standardizing the SLM app across the Android platform not possible at this time.

NIOSH is looking for feedback about the app and asks that you help them spread the word about this new tool for protecting workers’ hearing.

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