Sensaphonics Hearing Conservation Inc, Chicago, has introduced the dB Check in-ear sound level analyzer, the first device capable of accurately measuring sound pressure levels (SPL) with the earphones inserted. Designed to work with Sensaphonics custom earphones, the dB Check is a handheld unit that measures and displays the actual A-weighted SPL and, more importantly, the recommended safe exposure time for that level on both the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and Occupational Safety and Health Administraion (OSHA) scales.
“The dB Check is an industry first, and we’re really excited about it,” says Sensaphonics President Michael Santucci. “Before now, with their earphones in, musicians could only guess at the actual levels they were experiencing. But dB Check measures and displays the actual in-ear levels in real time. So now, IEM (in-ear monitoring) users can know exactly how loud they are monitoring, and how long they can safely listen at that level. It’s really the missing link in hearing conservation for musicians.”
Using the dB Check is as simple as plugging it in between the sound source (IEM bodypack, iPod, etc.) and the earphones. The user selects the Sensaphonics model being used (ProPhonic 2X-S, 2MAX, or 3D Active Ambient), sets the duration (from one minute to two hours), and monitors normally. In operation, the dB Check displays the A-weighted decibel level in real time. When the duration expires, the LCD display shows both the average SPL and the recommended daily exposure time under both NIOSH and OSHA guidelines.
While it is commonly believed that the use of personal monitors helps artists to monitor at lower levels, a recent Vanderbilt University study shows that, in practice, most musicians tend to turn up their IEMs to the same levels they are used to enduring with floor wedges. The study also showed that, while IEM systems are capable of allowing musicians to monitor at lower levels, the artists using them need proper instruction in order to realize the benefits.
“The problem is, old listening habits die hard,” notes Santucci, a practicing audiologist. “As a result, many well-intentioned IEM users are monitoring too loudly without knowing it. dB Check is the only device that addresses this issue. It can’t force you to turn down the volume, but it gives the information needed to make an informed choice. It’s a huge advance that will help our customers realize all the benefits of in-ear monitoring.”
Additional functionality built into the dB Check includes a condenser microphone for taking room level measurements. The unit is powered by a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, and ships in a rugged Pelican case. Supplied accessories include an audio interconnect cable and USB charging cable. For more information, visit www.sensaphonics.com.
About Sensaphonics Hearing Conservation, Inc
Founded by audiologist Michael Santucci (M.S., F-AAA) in 1985, Sensaphonics Hearing Conservation designs and manufactures custom-fitted earphones designed to achieve safe, high-resolution audio in mission-critical applications. In addition to a primary customer base of professional musicians and sound engineers, Sensaphonics products are used exclusively on all manned NASA missions and by all Indy Racing League (IRL) drivers. Other significant markets served by Sensaphonics include houses of worship, broadcasting, aeronautics, theater, and personal listening.