Crowdsourced SLM apps Feature Image

Measuring Public Noise Using Crowdsourced Sound Level Meter Apps

[Revised July 9, 2019; Originally published November 27, 2017]

Smartphone Sound Level Meter apps are the latest technology to help people measure and map indoor and outdoor sound levels around the world.

Apps can be used for personal use to find quiet locations at home or while traveling.

Citizen scientists–everyday people–use these apps to pool and map data to support public noise concerns in their communities.

Recommended science-based apps include HushCity, SoundPrint, NoiseScore, NoiseCapture, ExPlane, and Flightradar24.

For details on these apps and map examples, please click on the image or link below to open my presentation PDF.

Crowdsourced SLM apps Feature Image

Results versus Public Health Noise Guidelines

Compare results to public health noise limits. Do sound levels meet World Health Organization internationally recommended guidelines to protect:

  • disability access
  • cognitive, mental, physical health
  • communication for speech in noise
  • hearing health

Public Health Noise Limit Guidelines

< 40 dBA
Day-Night: Natural quiet with no amplified or manufactured sound sources, habitat conservation, sleep, rest, recovery, preschools, classrooms, hospital rooms
40 – 55 dBA
Day-Night: Risk of speech interference and/or discomfort for people with hearing health disabilities or quiet communication needs, e.g. tinnitus, hyperacusis, speech-in-noise loss, hearing loss, cognitive delays or declines, autism, hyperactivity, post concussion or head-injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia.
Night: Increased risk of chronic mental and physical health conditions: e.g. low birth weight, delayed learning, delayed language, delayed reading, cognitive delays, autism, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, early death
55 – 70 dBA
Day-Night: All of the above + speech interference for people with normal hearing.
> 70 dBA
Day-Night: All of the above + hearing health risk, e.g. hidden hearing loss, speech-in-noise loss, tinnitus, hyperacusis, temporary or permanent sensorineural hearing loss, accelerated age-related sensorineural hearing loss

AirNoise Complaint Button (U.S.)

If you live in the U.S., this is described as a “the fast, easy way to file airport noise complaints. Airport noise complaints are a pain to file, but you know you have to speak up. provides the simplest, fastest ways to make your voice heard, to help your community, and get your life back.

Plane Truth

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) campaigning internationally to curb aircraft and airport noise pollution.

Info at

Book at

Jan L. Mayes

“Never give up. Never surrender.”

Author, audiologist, educator, quiet activist, playing with words.

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