Preventing Hearing Loss: Apple WatchOS 6 Introduces the Noise app

  • December 31, 2019
Preventing Hearing Loss: Apple WatchOS 6 Introduces the Noise app

People
experience a variety of sounds throughout their day, but many of them can be at
a damaging level without us realizing the negative affect it has on our hearing
health. Thankfully, Apple introduced the Noise app for the Apple WatchOS 6. As
reported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication
Disorders (NIDCD), a research study completed in 2011-2012 found that 40
million adults are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss as either
single-sided or in both ears according to their hearing test. The good news is
that it is preventable, especially with the Noise App. The app’s main function
is to warn you if the sound levels in your environment are over 80 decibels,
which can cause noise-induced hearing damage. When the app alerts a person that
the noise levels in their area are harmful, the app will recommend what to do
in that situation, like removing yourself from the loud area or suggest wearing
hearing protection.

Noise-Induced
Hearing Loss

Noise-Induced
Hearing Loss (NIHL) can happen in one or both ears and at any age. According to
the NIDCD, noise-induced hearing loss is either a constant exposure to a loud
sound over an extended period of time or a single experience of a powerful
sound well above the recommend safe decibels. Sound is measured in decibels,
with 0-79db being the more safer sound levels, but anything 80db or above can
cause hearing loss. Depending on the amount of time exposed to a high-level
decibel, you can experience mild to severe loss. Examples of sounds that can be
over 80db are movie theater, fireworks, sirens, leaf blower, motorcycles,
sporting events, and concerts. Due to the exposure to loud noises in a
recreational setting, 1.1 billion people age 12-35 are at risk of hearing loss,
according to The World Health Organization (WHO).

Noise app
Features

The Noise
app uses the microphone from the Apple WatchOS 6 to measure the sound decibel
levels in the individual’s vicinity. According to Cnet.com, Noise app features
include:

  • Visual
    measurements of sound decibels
  • Number
    of minutes a day you can safely listen to dangerous sound decibels (80, 85, 90,
    95 & 100 decibels).
  • Short
    alert notifications of when your environment’s noise level is above a safe
    level. In the form of “Ok” and “Loud” or as a color flashing green when safe
    and yellow when too loud.
  • Facts
    about noise levels and suggestions on what to do in the situation.

Noise App
Benefiting Others

The Noise
App for the Apple WatchOS 6 can help eliminate noise-induced hearing loss and better
peoples’ overall quality of life. According to Rachel DeSantis of People.com, a
Texas dad, Scott Bennett, was astounded by how the Noise app assisted his son
Sam who has Autism. Sam is 21 years old and is extraordinarily social. His dad
described how “people just fall in love with him.” Sam struggled with having a
very loud speaking voice and was never able to fully control it. Scott stated
that Sam does lower his voice levels when warned but forgets about the reminder
not long after. As a result, Sam and the family are limited to public places
they can attend.

When Scott
discovered the Noise App on his Apple watch, he immediately demonstrated to his
son how it works. According to People.com, Scott was shocked when he witnessed
how quickly his son learned how to use the device. “He immediately saw that and
started using his own voice to make it work, and then immediately started
talking really quietly.” From then on, Sam wears an Apple watch every day, with
his family reminding him every once in a while, that his watch is flashing
yellow, which indicates that he is speaking too loudly. Sam’s family feels an
overall sense of relief and so proud of Sam for being able to control his voice
levels on his own. It also gives the family hope that they can spend quality
time together in more public settings.  

In
conclusion, the Noise app can help prevent noise-induced hearing loss. However,
if you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, treatment beyond the Noise
App is important to protect your overall hearing health. Call 888-333-9730 to
schedule a hearing screening with one of our hearing health professionals
today!