One thing that we cannot take away from our daily affairs is our interaction with sounds or noise at various frequencies. It is only the deaf that are exempted from this experience. Some of these sounds do blare, some buzz, others hum, but the issue is if they are safe to us. Some of us do subject ourselves to hearing sounds that are harmful to us, which may cause damage to the more sensitive parts of our ears; thereby, making it more liable to develop a temporary or permanent hearing problems. Any ear damage which results from noise is referred to as Noise-induced Hearing Loss(NIHL). Understanding a bit about the ear structure and its dynamics will aid us to appreciate the message in this article. There are many tiny hairs in the ear which send electrical signals to our brains, and they can be easily destroyed(either temporary or totally) by listening to loud noises as we go about our activities. The sound from our living rooms, kitchens, in public places, sound from our working tools, attending parties or concerts, explosions, or even on the road have the ability to affect our hearing adversely as they destroy these fragile hair cells of the ears.
It gets quite fortunate for us that respite has come for us all via technological advancements. We have come up with the means of measuring the decibel limits of the sounds in our environments. This help isn’t far away, as it can be with us always and right in our pouches and pockets. There are some apps which when installed in our smartphones can raise an alarm whenever we step into any location where the noise level is too high and can be detrimental to us. Described below are three quality apps that help us to achieve this aim of protecting and preserving our hearing.
- The dB Volume Meter
This one is an app that is masterminded by Apple for their iPhones so that these devices can detect sounds that are of danger to our hearing. This tool operates by measuring the actual sound pressure level or decibel level of any place that you go with the iPhone. It is mainly built to function in large outdoor settings such as the airport or in a park but it is not the ideal tool to use in other cases. Those of us who are in surroundings of over 90 dB of sound like when using heavy machinery or tools, during explosions should rather go for an SPL meter. This dB Volume Meter needs an external microphone to function properly, and this has already been inbuilt into the iPhone.
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- The TooLoud? App
This app is also a brainchild of the Apple Corporation for their iPhones devices. This one detects any dangerous sound in your environs and warns you to wear earplugs. The TooLoud? app counters our being comfortable with unsafe sound levels by displaying numerical figures for us so that we can build more awareness about this issue. It also gives you the option of determining safety values and specifying filters for what should pass for safe or unsafe noise. This offset value to be entered by you can be adjusted upwards or downwards to align with the various features of different phones and their microphones.
- The Decibel
The Decibel is another app for measuring the sound level around you. The technology is that it uses the microphone of the phone to measure the Sound Pressure Level(SPL). This tool will always give you many values at the same time; the minimum, maximum, and current levels of sounds in your surrounding, all in decibels. These three values are also displayed in simple graphs and charts. Try it out, it is quite user-friendly.
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Most of us ignore these warnings about harmful sounds and some of us become casualties as a result of this negligence. However, with these excellent apps at our disposals, we can even the odds by applying safety whenever there is loud noise around us.