Sound Testing Equipment
Sound testing equipment (sound meters) or commonly called noise level meters is very useful for several reasons.
Being a sound recordist I like to be interested in both how loud some environments are to protect my ears from problems like tinnitus. Tinnitus and other ear problems can cripple you for life and ruin otherwise easy day-to-day activities. The threshold for loud environments is 80 dB in an A-Weighting frequency graph. This means a graph that treats frequencies with their perceived loudness to the human ear. Other ratings such as B, C, D and E cover other conditions of frequencies.
It is amazing how loud some environments are, especially public transport like the London Underground. Sometimes can top over 100 dB especially on some corners where the trains are usually the loudest. Train stations in general are always a hubbub of noise and announcements which have been planned out to try to reduce reflections using sound testing equipment and understanding architectural acoustics. Reflections and reverberation cause a loss in hearing direct sounds from speakers and you don't want to miss your train!
If you are interested to know more about hearing loss and tinnitus then you're in luck. I've just written up everything from What is tinnitus? to tinnitus causes and along with your sound testing meter how you can take self-help steps to protecting your hearing. You may also want to look into musicians ear plugs which reduce volume but preserve frequencies equally so you don't get muffled and muddy sound. Check out musicians ear buds and ear plugs explained which will go great with your sound testing equipment in understand when things are getting a bit too loud.
Tinnitus compensation is a growing sector with more areas being subject to louder environments. Sound testing equipment is useful for employers in this manner as well. Up to £30,000 can be awarded for what is deemed catastrophic tinnitus and hearing loss from the negligence of an employer.
Take a look at the 2 noise level and sound level meters I would recommend for anyones budget and needs:
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