Dangerous noise? 3M sees consumer potential for its decibel meter app

You may wonder if a certain noise is loud enough to potentially damage your hearing. 3M says it has an app for that.

3M noise app

The Maplewood-based 3M has developed a smartphone program that can tell if a certain noise is loud enough it might damage people’s hearing.

3M figures its customers will be professionals charged with monitoring workplace noise. But 3M hopes consumers will see the value, too, said Ted Madison, an audiologist with 3M.

“They may be concerned about noise levels in their wood shop at home or if they’re out snowmobiling or doing other noisy recreational activities,” he said.

The application includes a sound level meter that provides 30- and 60-second readings on noise levels.

3M makes noise measurement and hearing protection devices. When NFL fans in Seattle and Kansas City competed in a loudest stadium contest this season, 3M donated more than 60,000 pairs of earplugs. Fans in both stadiums reportedly topped 136 decibels. That’s about as loud as a jet at a distance of 100 feet.