How accurate is Apple Watch noise level detection for hearing health?

Apple Watch now doubles as a hearing health monitor thanks to new noise level detection features in watchOS 6. After being turned on by the user, the new Noise app on Apple Watch can measure decibel levels and send alerts when a noisy environment that could affect hearing is detected.

So how accurate is the Apple Watch at measuring sound? One Apple Watch customer who works as a test stand operator for a nuclear motor facility put the new Noise app to the test.

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After their Apple Watch with noise alerts turned on detected a noisy environment while a motor was running, they compared the current decibel levels detected by the Apple Watch to the results captured by an EXTECH sound level meter.

Apple Watch reported an 88dB reading while the dedicated tool for measuring noise levels reported an 88.9dB. The results were within a 1% difference, and as the Apple Watch customer explains, meter readings with 5% variations are often accepted.

Their takeaway? The Apple Watch Noise app is surprisingly accurate (not unlike the heart rate sensor), and noise alerts will be practical for knowing when ear protection should be used. Check out the full description on Reddit.

watchOS 6 brings the new Noise app to Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5. watchOS 6 is also available for Apple Watch Series 3 and coming to Series 1 and 2, but the Noise app will be exclusive to Series 4 and newer.

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Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.