Looking for a Reliable dB Meter (Sound Meter)

Discussion in 'Support' started by Jiri, Dec 20, 2017.

    1. Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      Hello,

      Does anybody know of a reliable dB meter that is not going to cost a fortune? I'm still a postgrad student and part-time job worker so looking for some good quality meter that is not going to be way out of my budget.

      For any tips, thank you.

      Jiri
       
    2. Kolisar
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      Kolisar Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      birth?
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      @Kolisar Thank you. That appears to be some good quality info.

      I just don't want any unreliable gimmick like the phone apps. Downloaded two of them to my windows phone and each of them gave me 2 different readings.
       
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    4. Kolisar
      No Mood

      Kolisar Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      birth?
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      unknown
      @Jiri , you are welcome. As great as it would be to just be able to use an app on a phone, I would find it hard to believe that the phone's microphone is accurate enough for such measurements.

      I am glad the info helped. Please let us know which on you settle on and how it works for you.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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    5. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      What are you planning on using the dB/SPL meter for?
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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    6. JurgenG
      Approved

      JurgenG Member Benefactor Advocate

      Location:
      Belgium
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud noise exposure / headphone accident maybe?
      SPLnFFT app is one of the best, and reliable.
       
    7. Alue
      No Mood

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I have 3 inexpensive decibel meters and this one https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075ZRNGGG/ is my favorite. It has a fast and slow mode, 125ms sample window for the fast which is better for testing impulse noise, at least it's better than the standard 1s. It seems fairly accurate, but there are differences in the three meters (testing them with the same noise source) and I can't comment on which is the most accurate. The $50 one mentioned above may be more accurate. Maybe I'll get that one next...
       
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    8. MidnightOilAudio
      Ape-like

      MidnightOilAudio Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2015
      I think I know where @GregCA is going with his question. Apologies if I am wrong...

      Use common sense when going to places. You don't need a meter to tell you how loud something is. I have one and all I've used it for is to calibrate my speakers in my mixing room. I don't need it to tell me that going to see a local band at a small bar is a bad idea, earplugs or no.
       
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    9. Alue
      No Mood

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      I honestly can't tell how loud something is once it's loud to me. Maybe I'm the only one, but when it's past a certain relatively low threshold that's uncomfortable I don't know if it's damagingly loud or just uncofortably loud. I don't know if I'm okay with ear protection or not.
       
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    10. sjtinguy

      sjtinguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      I have heard using an apple device and app is more reliable, as Android and Windows phones may be made with a wide range of equipment and designs which could affect the reading. Also to be noted is that there are a few ways decibels are measured.. I have one app that reports in dbA and another which reports in dbZ.. there is a significant difference between them.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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    11. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      That is quite interesting. Could you please explain the difference beteween the two reports?
       
    12. sjtinguy

      sjtinguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      Sure.. so our ears perceive the decibel level of various frequencies differently.. we hear stuff in the vocal range much better than bass or especially stuff in the higher ranges. You can hear this if you use a tone generator and change the pitch up and down without changing the volume.

      Basically dbA is a weighted scale which is meant to match human hearing, while dbZ is unweighted. dbZ is going to measure higher than dbA in most cases because typically there is a lot of low end noise which is not weighted as heavily in dbA. If you read about OSHA guidelines and stuff it's always measured in dbA, not dbZ

      You can read more here: https://www.atp-instrumentation.co.uk/blog/frequency-weightings-explained/
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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    13. Ambassador
      Cool

      Ambassador Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      High frequency hearing loss and lifetime noise exposure
      I use Decible X from the Apple App store, it's free and accurate. My car is rated by the manufacturer to be 74 db at highway speed and that's what I measured with the app.
       
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    14. sjtinguy

      sjtinguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      I like that one and also "dB Meter".. the free version of Decibel X reports in dbZ while free dB Meter reports in dbA.
       
    15. Tinker Bell

      Tinker Bell Member Hall of Fame

      Location:
      U.S.
      Tinnitus Since:
      02/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      SSHL from virus
      That’s interesting to know. I have the free version of Decibel X and it measures nearly 10dB higher than other apps I have used.

      I currently prefer the NIOSH SLM app. It was recommended by a member on a different TT thread.
       
    16. Red
      Crappy

      Red Member

      Location:
      Northeast USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      06/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Noise Exposure (Headphones)
      Damagingly loud or uncomfortably loud? What is the difference for someone who has hyperacusis?

      If hyperacusis exacerbates tinnitus…
      And considering I had hyperacusis in my right ear before that same ear finally got tinnitus as well…

      Maybe hyperacusis is our new indicator on what hurts our already damaged ears?
       
    17. Alue
      No Mood

      Alue Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      01/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Acoustic Trauma
      While I agree, anxiety can make noise sound louder too, and it's hard discerning if it's just uncomfortable because you are afraid of it making your tinnitus worse, or it's a level that can actually make your tinnitus worse. I wear hearing protection anywhere I'm concerned, but even then it can be uncomfortable. I can't avoid all sound like some people. I don't see how anyone can unless they work remotely, they work in a library or quiet office, or they are independently wealthy.
       
    18. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      Not sure what you mean by your question? Why do people use all sorts of measuring instruments?

      I want to know how loud certain things are, measure them, then decide whether it's too much for me or not. E.g. my car is quite loud, so I want to know how loud it actually is. Or smashing the revolving doors shut, or how loud our neighbour's dog is when its barking, people laughing at work... I'm sure you get the picture.

      Just want the best bang for my buck. I don't want to spend my hard earned money on some malfunctioning tech.
       
    19. sjtinguy

      sjtinguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      Yes I've noticed that Decibel X reports higher than other apps too.. I've attributed it to the dbZ curve. You can buy the pro version and get the dbA curve but I have only used the free version
       
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    20. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      Thanks for the explanation but I'm still a bit confused. Could be the medication or simply just me not getting it. Which meter (brand) would you recommend getting then, dbA or dbZ, or is there some other for a reasonable price that measures both? Preferably compact pocket size. I was looking at the one @Alue recommended, then saw a quadrillion of other ones. When I read the reviews on amazon a lot of ppl are complaining that some are defective. 0 idea
       
    21. sjtinguy

      sjtinguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      The one that Alue recommended and I bet almost all hardware meters are going to measure the dbA scale. Most of the time when people talk about decibels they talk about them in dbA scale so I would use that. The main reason I even mentioned it is because it's a way for two meters to report different results while both of them could still be accurate.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
    22. GregCA
      Jaded

      GregCA Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Tinnitus Since:
      03/2016
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis
      If you look at @MidnightOilAudio 's post, you'll see where I'm getting at.

      That's what I was afraid of. You may condition yourself to live your life by your SPL meter. You don't smash doors shut all the time, and an occasional burst isn't likely to do permanent damage, but you could be setting yourself up for constant anxiety.
      Certainly it can make sense to measure "background noise" such as car noise or restaurant noise - if you feel like you will be exposed for some amount of time, but for that, a plain old phone app like Decibel X is good enough. The idea being that you should do what feels comfortable to you, not what is written as a number on a device. If it feels uncomfortable and the device reads 70 dB, you're probably still better off getting out of that environment.

      That's why I was asking the purpose. If it's to measure "background noise" in some environment just to get a very rough estimate of loudness, then phone apps are probably the best bang for the buck.
      If you need accuracy, then they may not be the best option, but then again, I don't think many people can make use of dB accuracy, as most people don't understand how sound pressure work anyways, and would have no idea how to properly use & interpret a professional SPL meter.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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    23. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      @GregCA I am in my 2nd month of tinnitus and hyperacusis. I am scared of every loud sound that I hear (dog barking, shutting the door, clanking plates etc.). You may call it a placebo effect but at this stage I can honestly not predict what is still considerably safe for me and what's not. That's why I'd like some immediate feedback in a form of a measurement that may relax me that I was still in the "safe zone". That electric drill i.e. last week scared me much, just like the sudden dog barking at me. Heck, I don't even know if showering my head without earplugs in is safe now.

      Get what I mean? I lack knowledge and experience yet. I decided to live in a bubble for the next 3 - 6 months. I just try to avoid a t. spike as hard as I can now. Changed places where I go shopping (usually small markets where there's not many people, drive as little as possible, no trains for me either, the list goes on).
      Precisely.

      I tried that & I was getting different readings each time with every new app. It's either the windows phone or the apps themselves but they suck in general. I mean even by using common sense, I don't think that small mike in the phone can accurately measure anything. It's just got some algorythms that may or may not work properly.

      Hence the name of the thread "Looking for a reliable dB meter (Sound Meter)". I need a tip for a good measuring instrument that will do the job and won't kill my piggy bank.

      P.S.: I'll have a look at the post.
       
    24. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      Ok. I might have to look more into it. Is dbZ important for people with tinnitus, or better stick with dBA meter?
       
    25. sjtinguy

      sjtinguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      they are just different scales.. like Fahrenheit and Celsius.. honestly dB readings in general aren't that important to me and my tinnitus... it doesn't matter what the meter says, it matters how my ears feel.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018
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    26. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      Ok, guys. After reading countless reviews I'm deciding now between the sound meter @Alue suggested - URCERI Noise Decibel Meter (I do hope that the readings are accurate) and the Protmex PT02 in @Kolisar post.

      I'm going to get myself a nice Christmas present so which one out of the two would you go for & why?

      Side note: I read bad reviews on Amazon regarding the first $50 one - The Extech 407730.

      And no, I don't have an iPhone and again, the dB meters on a Windows phone are just plain bad. No apps.
       
    27. sjtinguy

      sjtinguy Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise
      i'd go with the cheaper one.. there are some even cheaper than $20 on amazon. it's not like there is a lot of technology behind these devices.
       
    28. Ambassador
      Cool

      Ambassador Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      High frequency hearing loss and lifetime noise exposure
      Just know these apps will err on the side of caution and will likely report a higher db level than actual, would you rather it be the other way round? I wouldn't . As an example, my blood pressure monitor regularly reports a higher BP than what my doc reads but it's only a guide and not absolute 100% accurate laboratory equipment.
      If my free db meter tells me I am in an environment that is 95db I don't want to be there without hearing protection. So what if the real number is actually 85db, I still don't want to be there without protection for any length of time. And that's the key, it's not only db level, it's duration of how long you are exposed to it.

      Most of us will be just fine living life with no protection except for when it's appropriate to protect, lawn mowers, power tools, shooting guns, etc.. You will survive the passing ambulance and passing car with a loud boom box stereo.

      Obsession leads to anxiety and that's the NUMBER ONE factor in causing tinnitus to be a problem.

      Yes it sucks but it doesn't suck as much as blindness to cancer or ALS or spinal cord injury.
       
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    29. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Jiri
      No Mood

      Jiri Member Benefactor

      Tinnitus Since:
      11/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      noise + injury
      Thanks for the tip. Perhaps not a lot of technology but some are still more accurate than others which is not always reflected in price (the more expensive the better). Is why I wanted someone's personal experience.
      Yes, but I am not using phone apps. I made that clear. May be on iPhone they work since so many people praise the app store apps. Imo that little mike cannot reliably pick up all the sounds let alone measure them.
      If my dB meter reports a sound that is +1 or 2 dB higher than the actual sound then I certainly won't mind.
       
    30. Ambassador
      Cool

      Ambassador Member

      Location:
      USA
      Tinnitus Since:
      June 2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      High frequency hearing loss and lifetime noise exposure
      The title of the thread is, "Looking for a Reliable dB Meter", I gave my recommendation.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2018

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