As most people who experience hearing loss will already know, being in loud and busy environments can often make it difficult to zone into one particular voice – even with the most technologically advanced hearing aids! Whilst there are hearing aids that claim to improve speech understanding in background noise, there will always be some situations where it is just too noisy. This can be the case for people who don’t actually suffer from hearing loss as well! For example, some listening environments like pubs and bars, where there are lost of people or perhaps loud music playing, can prove too difficult for people with hearing difficulties, and might also be challenging for those without a hearing loss.
Often, to avoid being stuck in a listening environment where they struggle to hear and/or join in on social interactions, individuals with hearing loss may choose to isolate themselves away from the situation completely. We know that this type of isolation, especially in older adults, can lead to more serious problems such as depression, anxiety, and even cognitive decline. SoundPrint is looking to eliminate this issue!
The new app, SoundPrint, can help people struggling with hearing loss decide which environments would be suitable for them. Therefore, rather than just simply isolating themselves and not going anywhere, they can select noise-friendly environments where they can meet up and socialise with friends and family.
Additionally, they have claimed themselves that the reason an app like this is so important is to try to protect the public’s hearing health by allowing them to limit their exposure to loud noises. It is relatively well known that repeated or constant exposure to loud noises can damage the hair cells in our inner ear and can lead to a noise induced hearing loss. They claim that by highlighting which venues are classified as ‘very loud’ and including the average decibel level, people can choose to avoid these areas and protect themselves from noise induced hearing loss.
The app allows the user to search for different restaurants, cafes, gyms, libraries, parks, retailers and more to see which has a suitable noise level for them. They can even select a “good for conversation” filter! Users can add their own soundchecks to the app to confirm or contradict what other people have said, or to add a soundcheck to a new venue. They can recommend places based on their noise levels and can add them to a “Quiet List” for easier access.
The creator of the app described it as “Yelp for noise”; you can find more information here, and it is available to download for FREE on the Apple store or Google play. Whether you have a hearing loss or not, this app could come in very handy for your next day out!