Soundprint – “Find Your Quiet Place”
Soundprint is an intuitive app that allows people who are hard of hearing to find a restaurant or other location that is at their preferred volume level. For each location, there is an estimated DB level for that hour on that day of the week. Users submit sound level measurements to the app, and then the app displays an average of these measurements.
I spoke with the creator of this app, Greg Scott, to understand more about the app and why he created it. He said his own experiences with meeting friends in restaurants were very stressful because oftentimes restaurants would be too loud. He tried searching for quiet places on Google, but often, they weren’t actually quiet. Eventually, he realized this was a problem he could solve. He decided to create the app which is essentially a database of places and their volume. However, when making the app, it was difficult to ensure the sound level measurements were accurate since there are so many phones with different types of microphones. Other problems included finding users for the app and creating a marketing strategy from scratch. Eventually, a few people started to use the app, and then some journalists wrote about it, and the number of app users grew from there. Solving these problems was worth it. He has heard many stories from people who either used the app to find quiet restaurants or even to show restaurant owners that their place was so loud, it could damage hearing. It has also helped people with other people who have vision loss, autism, or other conditions that make people sensitive to noise. Aside from the app, he recommended policymakers create a noise standard that restaurant managers should look to keep their restaurant at for the safety of their customers and employees.