Last year, researchers at NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) began looking at mobile sound level meter apps, hoping to find that such apps could be suitable for occupational noise measurements. After defining specific criteria to qualify sound level meter apps as suitable for their tests, they set out to find matching apps for iOS, Android, and Windows-based mobile devices. Ten iOS apps, out of over 130 available, were examined as part of their research. Of 62 Android apps downloaded for examination, only 4 apps partially met their criteria. No Windows-based apps qualified.
The results of the study were recently published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA). According to the published article, “The evidence suggests that for A-weighted data, SoundMeter is the app best suited for occupational and general purpose noise measurements. In addition to having the smallest mean difference for the A-weighted data, SoundMeter had the narrowest distribution of differences…”
The article concludes, “This study showed that certain sound measurement apps for Apple smartphones and tablets may be considered accurate and reliable to be used to assess occupational noise exposures. Android and Windows developers do not offer apps that meet the functionality needed for occupational noise assessments.”
Noted at the end of the article: “The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by NIOSH.”
NIOSH Blog Article (with images and video)