Monday, May 25, 2015

Too Loud, Too Noisy, But They Don't Believe You? Three Apps to Help.

Music, alarms, even honking horns help us navigate our daily lives.  But too much noise or "noise pollution" can be harmful. Aside from simply being too distracting or simply irritating, too much noise too often can cause hearing impairment.  Research has found that prolonged exposure to impulsive noise will damage eardrums and result in permanent hearing loss. Too much noise can also cause stress related illnesses, high blood pressure, sleep disruption and loss in productivity.

noIse pollution for kids
While we can't control all the noise around us, we can control the noise in our homes and classrooms. We can keep music volume down and we can help kids and family members develop their 'inside' voices.

Here are a few apps and websites that can help.

Too Noisy for ipad, iphone, and ipod shows "players" how loudly they are speaking. The app measures the volume of the noise in a room and displays a meter indicating whether or not the the room is too noisy. There is also an online version Too Noisy Online that comes with a free "Lite" version available for iOS and android as well as a "Pro" version.

In the Pro version, when the noise level is acceptable, a happy, smiley face appears above the noise meter.  When it is not acceptable, an audible alarm sounds.  When it's way too loud, the App appears to shatter the screen.  Note the alarm can be turned off, and the incident counter can be reset.

Too Noisy Pro - screenshot thumbnailToo Noisy Pro - screenshot thumbnailToo Noisy Pro - screenshot thumbnailToo Noisy Pro - screenshot thumbnail

Bouncy Balls is a free tool for smartphones and computers that shows students the volume of the noise around them by displaying a set of colorful bouncing balls. The higher the decibel level goes, the higher and more frequently the balls on the screen bounce. To use Bouncy Balls simply go to the website, click "begin bouncing," and then click the microphone icon to allow the site to access your computer's microphone. And, if you don't like colorful bouncy balls, there are bouncing emoji (with loads of different expressions), bullbles and eyeball that bounce and react to the noise around them.

Calmness Counter is similar to Bouncy Balls, although instead of colorful balls, cute emoji, calming bubbles, or funky eyeballs, it has a cool color-coded noise level meter. Like Bouncy Balls, Calm Counter is a website that activates your microphone and registers the room's noise level. The difference is that Calmness Counter displays a dial meter to display the decibel level. It begins with a calm, bright gree which will move from green to yellow to ortange to reddish purple. You can adjust the microphone input sensitivity directly on the Calmness Counter screen.

Whether you're at home, having a yard party, or in school: Projecting any tools for your students to see could be a good way to help them understand the appropriate volume for conversations, for "background" music, or for indoor and outdoor play.

For more on noise pollution and noise solutions please visit:
As always, thank you for your visit.  
Please leave your own noise solutions in the comments below.


  1. I'm told I'M too loud, when I get excited. So please don't tell my wife about this app!


  2. These are certainly excellent tools to use in a classroom to help students visually understand appropriate voice volume levels during cooperative group activities. Thanks for sharing! ABC Wednesday #23

  3. An informative post! Thanks for sharing and I will definitely download the Bouncy Balls to know the decibels of the sounds around me.

  4. I like the idea of that smiley face - I know that I sometimes have the volume turned up too high to accommodate my hearing loss (even with hearing aids), and this would be a good reminder - I'm off to investigate.

  5. My husband can be awfully loud! I try to touch him on the arm, and then he gets annoyed. Maybe someday, when he decides to graduate to a smart phone, I'll get this app for him! Didn't know about it, so thanks. Amy

  6. My house is super loud i live in a house full of boys so you tell me....hahaha
    Happy Wordless Wednesday!

  7. That kind of app would be good in public libraries and museums which you'd think people would know to talk quietly.
    The View from the Top of the Ladder

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