You can measure ambient noise by installing a sound level app on your smart phone. We review a 'Made in India' app and a couple of others which will help lay citizens support complaints in noise pollution cases with documented sound levels
Bangalore, November 24 2014: Planning a house party over the weekend and worried about causing disturbance in your neighborhood by exceeding the sound limit? Hassled by noisy public loudspeakers or fire crackers and need to confirm the decibels before lodging a complaint?
Till recently one had to invest Rs 3000 - Rs 10,000 on a portable sound level meter. Now your smartphone will do the job: You can convert your Android smart phone or iPhone into a handy sound level measuring device by installing an app.
The app uses your phone’s microphone to pick up the noise and measure its sound level, which it converts to readings in the decibel (dB) scale. Most of these applications allow you to record the measured sound level data, as proof.
Here are a few free apps we found and liked:
iNVH: Developed by Bosch engineers in Bangalore, this app measures both sound and vibration. The sound level meter of this app has five values that measure minimum to peak levels of noise. You can also measure the average sound level with the Overall Level, which graphically shows noise levels at every second. You can record and share the data. Download it from the Google Play store.
Sound Meter: An app with an easy-to-use interface, Sound Meter by Smart Tools, provides the minimum, mean, and maximum noise level values. It features a checklist of typical noise levels, for example 80 dB represents busy street or an alarm clock, 120 dB is the threshold of pain and compares it to the recorded level. This app also allows you take a screenshot and save the data. Download it from Google Play store
If you are an iPhone or iPad user, you can download the free Decibel 10th app for similar functions.
And if you hadn't realised it before, your smart phone is a 'sound' investment!