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.
Source: Sound level measurements using smartphone “apps”: Useful or inaccurate? Nast DR, Speer WS, Le Prell CG – Noise Health