by Jan L. Mayes, MSc, Audiologist
SoundPrint is hosting the October 2021 Find Your Quiet Place Challenge. This popular app lets users collect and submit sound levels from venues like restaurants, bars, and cafes. The SoundPrint app database helps people find quiet places and avoid noisy locations. This includes curated quiet city lists.
I think SoundPrint is a must-have app for anyone concerned about noise in public places. This includes people with typical hearing, hearing loss, tinnitus or hyperacusis, autism, or other sensory disorders.
SoundPrint is easy to use. Anytime I’m at a venue, I do a quick SoundPrint measurement and submission.
I really like the new feature where people can submit noise complaints. For example, a restaurant once turned up the volume after I asked them to turn the music down because of my hearing problems. For me, there is nothing worse than going out for a meal and finding conversation difficult to impossible because of loud amplified music or acoustic design, e.g. open kitchen.
One caveat is that I disagree with SoundPrint’s Noise Guideline Information. Sound levels greater than 70 dBA could be a noise risk to hearing health, not just unsafe noise louder than 80 dBA. The guidelines are most useful for checking how difficult conversation is at increasing noise levels.
SoundPrint is very valuable for helping people find their quiet places, and showing venue managers when noise mitigation measures are needed. The better we can crowdsource sound levels and show that many people value quiet, the more likely venues are to consider noise impact on customers’ hearing health and speech communication access.
I encourage everyone to become a SoundPrinter and participate in the Find Your Quiet Place Challenge this October.
Jan L. Mayes is an international Eric Hoffer Award winning author in Non-Fiction Health. She is also a science enthusiast and newly retired audiologist still specializing in noise, tinnitus-hyperacusis, and hearing health. You can read more of Jan’s work at her site, www.janlmayes.com.