Doing something about noise! Crowd Sourcing Noise Measurements
We’ve all known for a long time that exposure to workplace noise causes hearing loss – kids in school learn about it in Grade 4! Workers have been losing their hearing for years at alarming rates; an estimated 74% of construction workers by the time they reach retirement age(1)!
Now is the time to do something about it!
April 26th is International Noise Awareness Day. This is the perfect time for all of us to:
1. … measure the noise at your workstation on Wednesday, April 26th. For a list of the better quality smart phone apps for estimating noise levels please see http://www.ohcow.on.ca/avoidnoise/ .
2. … report the data you collect. We’ve created a website to allow you to upload your measurements ( http://www.ohcow.on.ca/avoidnoise/collect.php ) in order to get a picture of what kind of noise real workers are experiencing, and compare your results with workers from other workplaces.
3. … begin the work on preventing/reducing noise exposures.
Realizing that all workplaces are different, we’ve provided a number of suggestions on how to collect your noise measurements depending on your specific goals ( http://www.ohcow.on.ca/avoidnoise/strategies.html ).
Even if the noise in your workplace is not loud enough to cause hearing loss, bad acoustics can cause voice strain and vocal cord problems, while annoying/distracting noise has been associated with stress-related health effects.
Once we collect all your uploaded noise measurements, we’ll produce a summary of the data and provide you with ideas for making your workplace a quieter place (thus preserving your hearing).
Please , use your cell phone app to estimate the noise level at your workstation on Wednesday, April 26th and let us know the results. Also, encourage your co-workers to do the same. Measuring is the first step to getting noise under control – let’s all take this step together!
Noise App Recommendations
Based on reading some high quality evaluations of noise measuring cell phone apps, plus some of our own experimentation with such apps, we've come up with a short list of apps that we're confident are the most accurate. So, if you want to participate we recommend you use one of the following apps:
NIOSH SLM by EA Lab, Free!
LogSPL, By Fabien Lefebvre, $2.79 USD
NoiSee, By EA Lab, $1.39 USD
SPLnFFT Noise Meter, By Fabien Lefebvre, $5.49 USD
OpeNoise, by Arpa Piemonte, Free!
SPL Meter, by Keuwlsoft, Free!
For some very “sound” reasons, noise measurement apps on the iPhone generally are more reliable than Android, although we have some suggestions for Android app included in the list above. But, if you have a choice between types of phones, we recommend using the apps designed for iPhones. There are lots of unreliable noise measurement apps, so “Buyer Beware!” .