Loud noises and music can cause hearing problems like tinnitus, if not outright hearing loss. If you want to protect the health of your ears and keep yourself from going deaf later in life, you might want to check out Decibel 10th, an iPhone app developed by SkyPaw.
What is it and what does it do
Decibel 10th monitors the decibel level of the ambient noise in your immediate vicinity. You can easily see the current noise level change all around you, in real time. Using both a digital and analog display, the app provides you with decibel readings, as well as written explanations of what those noise levels are equivalent to.
- Easy to read and comprehend at a glance, and determine when noise level is getting too loud
- Measures max and peak decibel readings
- Universal app
- Easy to stop or start the monitoring of the sound in your area
- Simple, elegant design
- Only sensitive from 0 to approximately 100 decibels, if using the built-in mic
- Banner ad-supported (but not on all screens)
- No comprehensive reference chart/list of decibel level meanings
- 2nd generation iPod Touch users do not have built-in microphone, so in order to use the app you’ll need to plug in an external microphone
In case you aren’t terribly familiar with what decibel levels are dangerous, here’s a quick primer. A quiet library clocks in at around 30 dB, while the sound of city traffic heard from within your car is around 85 dB. 90-95 dB is the level at which hearing damage can begin to occur, though ear pain doesn’t usually kick in until around 125 dB. A rock show typically clocks in at around 115 or 120 dB. A shotgun blast clocks in at around 160 dB. You aren’t supposed to be exposed to anything over 140 dB, even when wearing ear protection.
As you can tell by the wide range of common sounds that you might be exposed to, it’s a bit problematic for Decibel 10th to only respond to dB readings of 0 dB to 100 dB. While the app is “for entertainment purposes only,” it’s important to know that the app won’t alert you to potentially damaging sounds that are louder than busy city traffic or power tools.
That being said, the app is easy to use, and looks great. I love the fact that you get a constantly updated reading, which is delivered in three display modes at the same time. You get an analog “needle” reading, a digital readout, and a text-based explanation of what the sound is equivalent to (ie. a quiet street, loud singing, etc.)
Conclusion and download link
While it would be nice if this app responded to sounds up to 140 decibels for safety reasons, using this app will help to make you more cognizant of your aural surroundings. If you use it regularly, it may even help to detect the early signs of hearing loss. If you care about your ears (or are just curious about the world around you), Decibel 10th is a cool tool to have in your arsenal.
Version reviewed: 3.6.1
Requires iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, iOS version 4.3 or later
Download size: 11.4 MB