Safety App Of The Week

October 19, 2016 No Comments

Below is this week’s “Safety App of the Week“.  Every Monday we publish an article that reviews and rates a new workplace safety app.  Our testing is done on Apple iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3s.  We rate each app from to ♥♥♥♥♥ (♥♥♥♥♥ is the best).  Prior app of the week articles are archived here.

Smartphone Sound Measurement Apps

We published a Safety App Of The Week review of 30 iPad Sound Measurement Apps.  Recently we discovered that NIOSH conducted their own study of 192 sound measurement apps.  Their results  were recently published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

While our research focused exclusively on iPad “tablet” sound measurement apps, this more recent NIOSH work focused on “smartphone” apps.

NIOSH found that Android-based apps lacked the features and functionalities found in Apple’s  iOS apps. This was likely due to the iOS advanced audio capabilities compared to other platforms, the open ecosystem of the Android platform, and having so many different Android device manufacturers using different suppliers and components.  So, we will not be doing any future noise surveys using our Android mobile devices.

To make a long story short, the NIOSH study re-enforced our findings by concluding that our preferred IOS sound measurement app (SPLnFFT Noise Meter  $3.99 – ♥♥♥♥♥) did indeed perform acceptably. NIOSH also found three other IOS apps that also performed satisfactorily, but were not available when we did our study.  These other three apps are:

  • SoundMeter  $19.99 – ♥♥♥♥♥
  • Noise Hunter  $5.99 – ♥♥♥♥♥
  • NoiSee  $0.99 – ♥♥♥♥♥

NOISH’s favorite sound measurement app of the four is “SoundMeter“.  Their favorite mobile device for sound measurement is “the older iPhone 3Gs model”.

NIOSH said that “since national standards and occupational guidelines specify that type 2 sound measurement instruments have an accuracy of ± 2dBA, some of the above-mentioned apps could potentially be used in the occupational setting, especially if they’re used in conjunction with a type 2 external microphone such as the MicW i436.”   

Based upon our research and this NIOSH work, we would feel comfortable doing a workplace noise study for screening purposes (or quick spot measurements) using any of the above four Apple IOS apps.  For the best results, use the SoundMeter app in a 3Gs iPhone.

Until NIOSH completes their intended external microphone testing, we will not be using any noise measurement app for OSHA compliance purposes!

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