Smart Phones and dB levels

Smartphones and Noise Level measuring apps

There are some of us who like to know how noisy a place is.  (Why would we care, since if we think it is noisy, then it is, right?)  But for some reason, we like to KNOW, to really know, how bad it is. In the old days, some of us carried around decibel meters.  But no longer, folks.  Now, you can just use your smart phone, assuming you have one.



You can now download apps that are quite good at measuring dB levels.  Here is a link to a 2014 article on an NIOSH report on smart phones sound meter apps.  And here is a link to the full NIOSH report. Soundmeter, for iOS phones, seems to be the one they found worked the best. From what I can see in the report, there were no apps for Android phones that they thought were very good. But the study was done four years ago, so I would think that there are now better apps for Androids. (If you want to get specific details, read the full report.)

When we were in NYC recently, I used the dB meter on my iPhone 5 to test the subway station. I had two apps, but just now, when I checked, I found I now only have one app – decibel 10th. My memory is that it was free (though with some ads).


Was it useful to have? Yes, for me.  When I found out how loud the subway station really was, I started wearing ear plugs when we were on the subway. (Of course, I could have just paid attention to my ears and brain, and I would have known how loud it was. But having a machine “prove” it to me was the icing on the noise cake.)

So, check out the apps and see what you think.  If you want really high end dB reading technology, I think you will need to stick to your old school meters. But one of these apps will also do the trick quite well. (You may be surprised by how loud your “quiet” home is – I certainly was!)



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