What is a Sound Level Meter?
Being exposed to moderate loud noises for a brief period usually does no harm, but imagine having to be subjected to it every day. If noise is a problem for you, the first thing you need to do is measure how loud it is. Then you can take effective steps to control it. A Sound Level Meter is a hand-held device. The Meter is fitted with a microphone that allows you to determine the acoustic intensity and measure the sound pressure level.
- You can use a Sound Level Meter to measure and record noise levels accurately
- One of the key tools used in any serious hearing conservation programme
- Divided into two “classes” – Class 1 and Class 2
You can use a Sound Level Meter to measure and record noise levels accurately. You can then determine whether the levels exceed legal limits set by national or international regulations. A compliant Sound Level Meter is one of the key tools used in any serious hearing conservation programme and compliance with health and safety legislation.
Noises that reach harmful levels can cause Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). If left uncontrolled or allowed to continue over an extended period, noise can create vast damage to people’s hearing. This could include permanent deafness. In some cases, it can lead to substantial expenses due to the loss of skilled workforce, early retirement and compensation via civil court action.
Sound Level Meters work by calculating the pressure of the sound waves travelling through the air from a source of noise. You will sometimes see them referred to as sound pressure level (SPL) meters. Devices like this give a measurement of sound intensity in units called decibels.
Class 1 or Class 2 Sound Level Meter?
Sound Level Meters are divided into two “classes”. Both have the same functionality but different tolerances for error. Class 1 instruments have a wider frequency range and a tighter tolerance than a lower cost, Class 2 meter.
As a manufacturer, we abide by certain standards such as IEC 61672-1. The standards define the performance criteria to be met by our noise measurement instruments including levels of tolerance. If you are interested in finding out more about standards relevant to sound level meters, read Part 2 and Part 3 of IEC 61672.
In the UK, under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations (2005), a Class 2 Sound Level Meter is considered to be sufficient for measuring general noise within an occupational setting.
Find out more about how to safeguard your workers’ hearing by downloading our FREE 5 Steps Guide to Controlling Workplace Noise