From the sound of the wind rustling through the trees to a jackhammer cracking through the pavement, our daily lives are filled with sounds ranging from quiet to loud, which results in an environment that can be either relaxing or stressful. Research has established that the environmental soundscape has a large impact on our stress levels, our sleep, and our cardiovascular and mental health. Unfortunately, the unreasonably high sound levels we encounter daily are often met with nonchalance, while the quiet places we can escape are neither publicized or promoted. It is believed that noise is a sacrifice we make for living in a motorized and industrialized society. Therefore, very little information is available for us understand the spatial, temporal, and visual distribution of sound in our communities.
The NoiseScore application was designed to address this lack of information by utilizing smart phone technology to capture both the objective and subjective nature of the sounds you encounter as you go about your daily routine.
With the Noisescore application, you can:
Objectively describe your daily soundscape by recording its sound levels
Visually document your daily sound scape by taking either a photo or video
Subjectively describe your daily soundscape by answering a brief survey
Your responses are fed into a series of live heat maps, which provides us—the community at large—with vital information as to the spatial and temporal dynamic of sound and noise perception in your community. This information can be utilized to:
Understand the spatial and temporal distribution of sound levels and noise perception in your community both overall and by specific sources such as loud parties, road traffic, or aircraft noise.
Identify both quiet and loud spaces you can travel to or escape from.
Allow for your voice to be HEARD and your issues to be seen.
1. The NoiseScore sound level meter measures an unweighted sound pressure level—the dB. One of our primary research goals is to study total noise—that is, we want to capture the contribution of low and high frequency sound as well capture both the noise we hear and feel.
2. Our sound level meter is in an experimental phase and is being subjected to continuous review and improvement. We welcome any feedback and appreciate your patience as we test and update.
3. Expect to specifically see variations in your Android device as Android phones are made by a variety of manufacturers with different specifications and requirements when it comes to how they design and build their microphones, audio/signal processing chips, and software. Therefore, the accuracy and functionality of the Android version of the app is limited, but is something we are currently addressing. As we test and improve, we will update the application.
4. While we have carefully tested this application, you may experience issues. Please keep in mind that this application is a work in progress and your feedback helps us to improve it. If you do experience issues, please reach out to us.
The NoiseScore application is a community research project developed and maintained by Noise and the City, an advocacy group founded by Erica Walker, a recent graduate of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
To learn more about our project, visit us at