How to measure noise whilst practising social distancing

There’s no point in beating around the bush. The times we’re living in are unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. Every aspect of our lives has been affected, whether it’s not being able to go to the pub after work or worrying about if you’re going to be able to get loo roll from the supermarket. Even the way we monitor noise will have to change if we’re going to do the responsible thing and follow the advice to practise social distancing. But if you work in health and safety or noise measurement, you might be wondering just how you’re supposed to collect the data you need whilst ensuring you stay at least two metres away from other people.

Well, firstly, you might be thinking about whether you need to measure noise at all at the moment. The hard truth is that whilst noise levels are probably pretty far down everyone’s lists of priorities right now, health and safety legislation won’t stop applying to those organisations where employees are still going into work. Health and safety officers and those responsible for people’s wellbeing in the workplace still need to have the tools at their disposal to be able to ensure the risks posed by noise are measured, monitored and controlled as much as possible.

For most people, this would involve using a handheld sound level meter, like one of our Optimus+ instruments, but it’s difficult to practise social distancing with equipment like this, especially if you’re measuring the impact noise has on an individual. Normally, you’d stand as close to the equipment and the person’s ear as possible, but that would involve standing much closer than two metres to someone. No one wants that right now.

So, how should you monitor noise while practising social distancing?

We’d strongly advise that you use a wireless non-contact noise dosimeter, just like our doseBadge5s. These little badges are absolutely perfect for monitoring noise at times like these, where we need to keep away from each as much as possible. Here’s a handy bulleted list to outline the key features that will help you maintain good noise monitoring practice, whilst following social distancing guidelines:

  • They’re completely non-contact – the single most important feature of our doseBadge5, or indeed most noise dosimeter, is that if you use them correctly, they are completely non-contact. Unlike a sound level meter, whereby you use it stood next to or near someone, noise dosimeters are worn by workers as they capture the different noise levels throughout their working day. There’s no need for you to be present whilst the data is being captured, and you can review the readings away from people once their shift is over.
  • Start/stop timers – this is another one of the most useful features of the doseBadge5, as it removes the need for interaction with your workforce entirely. All you need to do is set the time you need your badges to start and stop their measurements whilst they’re connected to NoiseTools, and you’re good to go! Just remember to let your team know to take their badge before the time the timer is set for.

    You can also use the dBLink app to set measurement timers; you’ll just have to do it for each badge individually.
  • The doseBadge5 remote control (wand) – exactly what it says on the tin: a remote control for our doseBadge5 noise dosimeters, with the added flare of being called a wand. You can start/stop measurements, change badge settings and view live measurement data from up to 10 metres away.
  • The dBLink smartphone application – this app allows you to connect to individual badges, using the interface of your smartphone, Start/stop measurements, change a badge’s settings and view live measurement data from up to 10 metres away, all using a device that you’re familiar with.

How can Cirrus help?

If you find that you’ve only got a sound level meter and need a set of noise dosimeters, then we’re here to help. Our doseBage5s are available to purchase or, if like many organisations, things are a little tight right now, you can hire our equipment too! We offer flexible hire terms, so you have access to the instruments you need for as little or as much time as you need. And, given the ever-changing nature of the world at the moment, if you need to rearrange for whatever reason, we’ll do our absolute best to accommodate you.

Please remember to be safe!

Here at Cirrus, we’re taking every possible precaution to ensure the safety of our team. We’re using isopropyl wipes, gloves and UV-C sterilisation lamps on every instrument that comes in and goes out. We’d advise you to wipe down every instrument thoroughly, before and after each time it’s used. It may seem like a pain, but it’s incredibly important to take every precaution to keep ourselves, our families, our friends and our co-workers safe.

You can read Cirrus Research’s response to the current situation here.
You can find more advice and guidance from the UK Government here.

Clarke Roberts

Senior Marketing Executive at Cirrus Research plc
Clarke is a Senior Marketing Executive and is responsible for helping people to find Cirrus Research's innovative noise measurement solutions by using all aspects of the marketing mix.

He particularly enjoys writing content about product applications, including noise nuisance, occupational noise and environmental noise pollution.

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