How to Use SoundPrint to Gauge Noise Levels in Public Places

The Importance of Regular Hearing Screenings in School
September 24, 2019

Learn more about the SoundPrint app

Have you ever been to a restaurant that was noticeably loud? The type where you can barely hear your friends and the server can barely hear your order over the cacophonous noise? If you have – and I would bet you have been to at least one of these restaurants – you know how annoying it is. And in extreme situations, you may even be worried that the noise level could damage your hearing.

What can you do in these situations? If the noise is outrageous, you may consider speaking with a manager about the noise level. However, this may do little to fix the problem long-term, and it often does nothing to give you a quieter meal right at that moment. You may also want to cross that restaurant off your list of establishments you want to return to.

When you do want to go out for a meal, however, it can be a challenge to know where you can go that will be quiet enough for you to enjoy your food and conversation in peace. Enter SoundPrint.

SoundPrint is a phone app that allows you to measure the noise level at a restaurant and share it with other app users. This way, you can assess noise levels at various cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants before visiting them in person, and you can make your choices accordingly.

Here’s how the SoundPrint app works:

  1. Download the app. You can do this by searching for it in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.
  2. When you want to measure the noise level in a restaurant or public place, open the app on your phone. Touch the “Start” button to start recording, and continue recording the decibel level for at least 15 seconds. Once you have finished recording, tap “Stop.”
  3. To share the sound level of the restaurant you are in, touch the “Submit” button. After you hit “Submit,” you will be taken to the “Your Location” screen. The app will give you options of where it thinks you are, or you can type in your location in the field near the top. The app will be more accurate in finding your location if the “Locations” setting is activated on your phone.
  4. Once you select the venue location, tap “Submit.” Your data will be submitted to SoundPrint – without your name or any other identifying information. This allows other SoundPrint users to see the noise level at the venue.
  5. If you want to look at the noise level for a venue, simply search for it. You can also search geographic areas to find places of your desired noise level. On the map, very noisy places are red, pretty noisy places are orange, a little bit noisy is yellow, and quiet places are green. If no data is available yet for a certain venue, it will appear brown/gray.

If you go to a venue you have seen on SoundPrint and the noise level differs from what has previously been reported, you can take a new decibel reading and submit it. You can also add comments that other app users can see.

If you use the SoundPrint app at a restaurant and notice that the decibel reading is very high, you may also want to inform a manager so they can take steps to lower the noise level. High noise levels can be dangerous to your hearing health, especially if you are exposed to them for long periods of time. This can pose a danger to both patrons and employees.

As more people begin to use SoundPrint and other similar tools, it will become easier to find public places with lower noise levels – and hopefully, venues will take notice and take steps to lower their noise levels to be more welcoming.

If you would like more information about tools that can help you make informed decisions about your hearing health, please contact our audiology office today. We are happy to help!

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