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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 72  |  Page : 251--256

Sound level measurements using smartphone "apps": Useful or inaccurate?

Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Colleen G Le Prell
Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, University of Florida, Box 100174, Gainesville, FL 32608
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Source of Support: The project was supported by the Hearing Research Center at the University of Florida. The authors thank Ben Faber at Faber Acoustics, for donating a free download of the SoundMeter application to D.R.N. for use in this study. In addition, the authors thank Edward Lobariñas for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.140495

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Many recreational activities are accompanied by loud concurrent sounds and decisions regarding the hearing hazards associated with these activities depend on accurate sound measurements. Sound level meters (SLMs) are designed for this purpose, but these are technical instruments that are not typically available in recreational settings and require training to use properly. Mobile technology has made such sound level measurements more feasible for even inexperienced users. Here, we assessed the accuracy of sound level measurements made using five mobile phone applications or "apps" on an Apple iPhone 4S, one of the most widely used mobile phones. Accuracy was assessed by comparing application-based measurements to measurements made using a calibrated SLM. Whereas most apps erred by reporting higher sound levels, one application measured levels within 5 dB of a calibrated SLM across all frequencies tested.


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