Meinke, Deanna K.


Finan, Donald S.

Committee Member

Flamme, Gregory


Audiology and Speech-Language


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



76 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The ability of smartphone apps to measure impact noise has not been evaluated. This study was designed to explore the feasibility of using smartphone apps as a means to evaluate impact noise levels in industrial settings. Impact noise was generated by dropping a 4 Kg shotput onto a .5” thick steel plate at heights ranging from 6.5 to 102 cm. Two iPhones and two Android phones were tested with three apps each using both the phone’s built-in microphone and an external microphone. Sound level measurements of each drop were simultaneously recorded by a calibrated smartphone and a gold standard system capable of accurately measuring high intensity impact noise. These experimentally grouped datapoints (phone/app) were analyzed to determine if any smartphone/app/microphone could measure impact noise to within ±2dB SPL of the gold standard system. The results of this study showed that none of the three Android apps tested could measure impact noise with any meaningful degree of accuracy. The absolute mean differences for measurements recorded with Android devices ranged from 29.5 to 53.4 dB SPL. Measurements recorded with iPhones were closer than Android devices to gold standard measurements, with absolute mean differences ranging from 0.3 to 43.1 dB using the internal mic and 0.5 to 44.8 dB with the external mic. Measurements from the SoundMeter iOS app were closest to the gold standard, with absolute mean differences of from 0.5 to 4.8 dB. iv The data recorded using Android phones to measure impact noise in this study indicated that even with an external microphone and proper calibration, Android smartphones and apps are unable to measure impact noise with any degree of accuracy and should not be relied upon to make any decisions regarding occupational impact noise exposure. iOS phones more closely approximated the performance of the gold standard measurements. The SoundMeter app with the iMM-6 external microphone coupled to either the iPhone 6 or iPhone Se approximated the performance of a calibrated Type II sound level meter and would be the preferred instrument combination for impact noise field measurement up to 142 dB peak SPL.

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