Noise Level Meters for Controlling Noise at Work
Noise level meters are sophisticated devices used to determine the sound level by capturing and measuring changes in sound pressure. They tend to be hand-held and will be pointed towards the source of noise. Put simply, sound enters the noise level meter via a small microphone. It is then processed and measurement data or values are displayed digitally in decibels to inform the user if an environment is too loud and any corrective action needs to be taken.
Imagine you are in a workplace with various machines working at the same time. Tones that have the same sound pressure level but different frequencies will not sound equally loud to the human ear. ‘A’ weighting is the internationally standardised filter applied by a sound level meter in an attempt to replicate the response of the human ear to specific frequencies. This explains why noise measurement values are expressed as dB(A).
Here is an example of how a modern meter would display a decibel reading.
Noise level meters come in two forms: data logging, where measurements are saved to an internal memory, or non-data logging, where measurements are displayed on the meter only and the user writes the values down manually. The meters also come in two classes: 1 or 2. The class of a sound level meter represents its frequency range and levels of tolerance. A Class 1 sound level meter meets a higher performance specification than a Class 2 meter and will typically measure a wider frequency range of noise. Pulsar Instruments offer both options however, for Noise at Work measurements, a Class 2 meter is perfectly acceptable.