NoiseScore is a new mobile app to help quiet our communities. The NoiseScore application is a community research project developed and maintained by Noise and the City, an advocacy group founded by Erica Walker, ScD, MA, who recently received her doctorate from Harvard TC Chan School of Public Health.
Your neighbors aren’t home but you are – trying to get the baby to sleep, get some work done, and just looking for some peace and quiet. But no, the landscapers are at it again – the blowers, the mowers, the trimmers – going for hours. Your neighbors don’t hear it – they all work in the city. If only you could show how it’s affecting your family, your quality of life, and your sanity.
Now, a new mobile app – NoiseScore— let’s you do it. Please note: It’s in testing mode and users are urged to provide feedback. The app:
- Records sound levels
- Takes pictures and videos
- Let’s you describe how the noise affects you
- Maps the location of the noise
NoiseScore was developed by Noise and the City that advocates for safer community soundscapes. Dr. Erica Walker, founder of the group and creator of the app, is a member of QC’s Health Advisory Council. She is a co-author of a recent study on the impacts of landscape maintenance noise on communities. Her project, the Greater Boston Noise Survey, showed how different sources of environmental noise are affecting the Boston area.
The auditory and non-auditory effects of noise on health are well known. They include hearing problems as well as elevated stress levels, sleep disruption, interference with learning, and harm to cardiac and mental health. More than 100 million Americans are estimated to be at risk for heart disease from environmental noise exposure, costing the country billions of dollars each year. The Centers for Disease Control, the US EPA, and World Health Organization are among the agencies that recognize the harms of noise. An article in the American Journal of Public Health by Dan Fink, MD, founder of The Quiet Coalition and interim chair of QC’s Health Advisory Council, discusses what constitutes a safe noise level for the public. Yet, few in the US pay attention. Those who are concerned don’t have the necessary tools to make a difference.
The NoiseScore app was developed to fill this gap, enabling people to document and communicate the noise (and quiet) they experience in a meaningful and vivid way. Each person’s response contributes to a live community map – providing vital information on soundscape and how people are affected.
We need to raise awareness about the problem of noise and its harmful effects. With tools like NoiseScore, we can build the information necessary to advocate for quieter, healthier environments for our children and families.
Spread the news in your community. Here’s a poster that can help.
To learn more about community noise and the NoiseScore project, visit: