Noise Dosimeter

 

“Over the last 10 years, I have worked with the Daedalus team to develop and improve many SKC products. The development of the NoiseCHEK Personal Noise Dosimeter was a particularly challenging and unique project since neither Daedalus nor SKC had experience in noise dosimetry. Despite this lack of experience, SKC was able to ship the first NoiseCHEK production units to our customers a mere 24 months after the kick-off meeting. Once again, Daedalus provided expert and efficient service in all areas of new product development, including industrial design, user interface, electronics, and software. Once again, I am pleased with the results of our teamwork with Daedalus.”

— Saulius Trakumas, SKC Product Development Manager


Noise-induced hearing loss isn’t only caused by intense sounds that suddenly occur in your immediate vicinity, but also by chronic and repeated exposure to less intense sounds, like working in a noisy environment. To help prevent noise-induced hearing loss, OSHA requires workplaces to implement hearing conservation programs when noise exposure averages 85 dB or above over an 8-hour work day.

To comply with these requirements, industrial hygienists use noise dosimeters to monitor ambient sound levels. Noise dosimeters are specialized sound level meters that indicate the cumulative noise-exposure for a given period of time by measuring and storing sound pressure levels.

The SKC NoiseCHEK Personal Noise Dosimeter was a complex project that utilized nearly all of the disciplines at Daedalus. We first interviewed users of noise dosimeters to understand the differing needs of the industrial hygienists who analyze the collected data, as well as the device’s wearers, whose interactions are limited to wearing the device while it gathers data, and the conflicts that sometimes occur between those groups. We learned about the industrial hygienists’ strong desire to be able to remotely access readings mid-shift and the need for certain tasks to be speedy and “bulletproof” in their ease of use.

Because use environments for the dosimeter are expected to be very noisy, our UX and industrial design teams prototyped and crafted a user experience that includes prominent visual indicators that can easily be observed from a distance via colored LEDs with custom lightpipe designs and intuitive color conventions. For the harsh environments that usually accompany these noisy workplaces, we engineered the device to be extra rugged, with highly sensitive microphone parts that are also extremely serviceable and replaceable. Our software team built the application in its entirety including all embedded software and firmware.

We also designed and built a secure magnetic charging dock with a USB connection for use with SKC’s DataTrac software, and developed the SKC SmartWave dB mobile app, which connects to in-range NoiseCHEK dosimeters via Bluetooth. This level of connectivity allows industrial hygienists to remotely control and monitor noise sampling, view sample history and attach notes to the file, and to share compliance reports via email or text directly from the SmartWave app.

One of the interesting and complicated challenges of this project was satisfying the needs of a wide range of industrial hygienists, from independent contractors who simply need to spot-check and certify their OSHA safety plan compliance, to military customers with highly regimented and regularly occurring testing plans with a multitude of documentation and oversight layers.

In 2020, the NoiseCHeK with its SmartWave db Mobile App received an award from World of Safety and Health Asia, which called out its ease of use: “the SKC NoiseCHEK touchscreen navigation offers intuitive operation … making compliance noise monitoring easier.”

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