What is an integrated sound level meter?

Whether you are new to field measurement or looking to implement a noise control program, the first thing you need to do is differentiate between the instruments used for noise measurement before you begin. If your business has to operate within a framework of compliance and labor regulations that stipulate an integrating sound level meter (NOM 011), using the most appropriate meter for your application will make a difference in the accuracy and reliability of your measurements. Here’s a quick reference to help you decide if an integrating sound level meter is suitable for your business.

Measurements can be simple or complex and can be carried out by members of the health and safety team or an assessor. There are a lot of different types of noise measurement instruments available depending on the kind of noise and the purpose of the measurement.

An integrating sound level meter determines the equivalent continuous sound level by dividing the average sound exposure ‘A’ by the measurement duration (seconds, minutes, hours, or an entire shift). This mean value is read as the LAeq. Most sound meters in the present day will do this automatically since you must add all the measurements, average them, and divide by the measurement duration.

What it is so exceptional in case of sound level meter?

What differentiates this type of meter from other instruments, such as a noise dosimeter, is used to measure noise from machinery to establish mandatory or recommended PPE zones and an average of noise exposure. The person taking measurements with this meter will need to hold it at arm’s length close to the worker and the noise source to assess direct exposure. The use of an integrating sound level meter is recommended if a worker spends most of their shift in one location. This instrument is susceptible and contains detailed reporting software. It is a step up from a basic sound level meter in price and performance.

We often refer to workplace noise control and noise exposure limits. The current regulations refer to this measurement. With the continuous make use of the equipment, you will become familiar with the noise exposure values, both every day and weekly averages, which can all be measured with an integrating sound level meter.

These are some examples of the integrating sound level meters in the Pulsar range: Pulsar Nova, Pulsar Assessor, and Pulsar Quantifier. All are available as Class 1 or Class 2 meters.

Capturing Personal Noise Exposure

In a work environment with impulse, intermittent, or variable noise levels, a basic sound level meter will be limited to determining a worker’s average exposure to noise over an entire shift and, as such, assessing any hearing damage. On the other hand, for these types of needs, a personal noise dosimeter is a solution. Typically worn on the shoulders, this device captures and stores the noise level and measures a person’s total noise exposure over a period of time. On the other hand, this is particularly useful in construction, demolition, metalworking, manufacturing, entertainment where noise varies in duration and intensity and where workers move from one place to another to perform a multitude of tasks, exposed to different noise sources and different intensities.

Essential sound level reading.

Finally, you can opt for a simple sound level meter for basic sound level reading and not an integrating sound level meter. On the other hand, this type of meter will give you an instantaneous reading of the single sound pressure level at a given moment in time (‘A’). A simple sound level meter is usually constructed of a weighting filter and will provide measurements in dB (A). This sound level meter is sufficient in situations where noise levels are continuous, for example, during fire alarm testing. It is perfect for conducting a rapid noise survey at designated locations throughout a whole plant to identify noisy areas. It is not the best choice if you are looking to measure and obtain an exact Leq value as required by the Occupational Noise Regulation.

We hope this article has given you a good overview of the most commonly used instruments for measuring noise at work.  

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