Touted as the ultimate device for a healthy life, there are many things an Apple Watch can do. It can connect to your iPhone to deliver notifications, make calls, send texts and run apps. It can even send you fire station alerts (if you’re a Phoenix G2 station alerting user).
And now, with the latest release of Apple’s WatchOS 6, its new Noise App can help alert you to noisy environments that could hurt your hearing.
Enter the Noise App
The unique new Noise app, when installed on your Apple Watch, measures the ambient noise levels of whatever environment you happen to be in. Then it warns you if the loud sounds around you are enough to cause hearing loss.
The Noise app is proactive; using it you can monitor your environment and prevent hearing loss from occurring in the first place.
Here’s how it works…
When Apple Watch’s microphone detects that the decibel level has risen to a point where your hearing could be affected, it notifies you with a simple tap on the wrist.
The app also calculates the amount of time you can be exposed to a specific decibel level in a given day before damage will occur.
When you open the Noise app, you’ll see a real-time measurement of the sound around you in decibels. You’ll also see a short message letting you know if the sound levels are “OK” or “Loud.”
(Here is a fantastic walkthrough of the Noise app, detailing how to set custom alerts or disable it if you’d rather not use it.)
Hearing Damage on the Rise
Exposure to high noise levels among firefighters is well-documented and increases the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. In fact, it’s one of the most pressing health issues for fire station personnel and staff, and the problem is on the rise.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends measures to promote hearing health through the use of quieter equipment, better work practices, hearing protection devices and implementation of effective hearing loss prevention programs.
At US Digital Designs, we’ve written a few articles* about how first responders can have significant auditory nerve damage because of loud, continuous noise in and around fire stations. That’s why all of our Phoenix G2 station alerting products come with built-in ramped tones.
Firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are at risk of suffering hearing loss from exposure to sirens and other alerting devices. NIOSH suggests an ambulance siren is 120 decibels, well above the recommended limit of 85 decibels. Exposures at or above 85 decibels may result in noise-induced hearing loss.
Now, however, with the latest release of Apple Watch, there’s something emergency personnel—and anyone else—can do about it.
While the Noise app doesn’t integrate with our FSA mobile app, many USDD customers and their teams are using their Apple Watch 4s and higher (iOS6) to monitor their ambient noise levels and take themselves—and their hearing—out of harm’s way.