J Acoust Soc Am. 2022 Jul;152(1):547. doi: 10.1121/10.0012916.
Exposure to noise occurs throughout daily life and, depending on the intensity, duration, and context, can lead to hearing loss, disturbed sleep, decreased academic achievement, and other negative health outcomes. Recently, smartwatches that use the device’s onboard microphone to measure noise levels were released. This study evaluated the accuracy of these smartwatches in a controlled laboratory setting. For broadband pink noise, a total of 11 441 measurements were collected. The results showed that, on average, the smartwatch reported 3.4 dBA lower than the reference system on average. For the octave-band, a total of 18 449 measurements were collected. The smartwatch measured lower than the reference microphone from the 125 Hz to 1000 Hz octave bands, were somewhat in agreement at 2000 Hz, measured higher sound pressure levels than the reference microphone at 4000 Hz, and then lower at 8000 Hz. Despite not meeting the ANSI criteria for sound level meters, in some cases, these smartwatches still provide a reasonable degree of accuracy and have the potential for use in studies that require the measurement of personal noise exposure over an extended period.