Technology

How the Noise app in watchOS 6 helps protect your hearing


One of the neatest new features in watchOS 6 is the Noise app. The app is designed to alert you with Apple Watch when you’re in a loud environment that could damage your hearing. Here’s how it works.

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In the Apple Watch companion app on iOS, you’ll see a new “Noise” option among the list of Apple-developed watchOS applications. In this menu, you can configure the noise threshold to your liking with the options based on data from the World Health Organization.

For instance, if you choose 80 decibels, you’ll receive a notification when the sound level exceeds that limit. By default, the Noise app will notify you when the sound level exceeds 90 decibels. At this level, the World Health Organization says the volume could damage your hearing after 30 minutes of exposure per day.

  • 80 decibels, Limit: About 5 hours / day
  • 85 decibels, Limit: About 2 hours / day
  • 90 decibels, Limit: About 30 minutes / day
  • 95 decibels, Limit: About 10 minutes / day
  • 100 decibels, Limit: About 3 minutes / day

At those levels of ambient noise, your Apple Watch will send a push notification informing you that you’re in a loud environment that could affect your hearing

If it’s too loud, you can feel it. Your watch monitors your environment’s ambient noise and tracks the duration of your exposure. When Apple Watch detects that the decibel level has risen to a point where hearing could be affected, it can notify you with a tap on the wrist.

Alternatively, you can use the Noise app on Apple Watch to check the levels of your environment at anytime. In the Noise app, you can see a live-updating bar graph that shows the noise level of environment. Beneath the graph you’ll see an explanation of the sound levels, either informing you that long-term exposure won’t damage your hearing, or that you should consider using hearing protection.

The Noise app also supports a watch face complication. Here, you can see live updates about the noise level of your environment. The complication will either indicate that the noise level is okay or too loud.

The Noise app in watchOS 6 is a pretty nifty expansion of the device’s health tracking capabilities. In situations such as concerts, parties, and other such environments, the Noise app can provide useful notifications to those who would otherwise be unaware of the long-term effects of loud music and noise.

watchOS 6 is currently available in developer beta and will be released to everyone this fall. It’s compatible with Apple Watch Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, and Series 4. The Noise app is only available on the Series 4.


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