26 December 2019 10:36
When the new updates for Apple's Health app for iOS and WatchOS were announced at WWDC, I was pretty sure that the new Noise app would become one of my favourite features of the Apple Watch. But what I didn't realise was just how much it would become a part of what I do every day. The Noise app sends a notification if your environment is unhealthily loud. As a kid, I needed several surgeries to be able to hear properly. And then, as a teenager, I became a drummer, much to my doctor's exasperation, yet managed to maintain my now above-average hearing due to my parents' insistence that I wore ear protection during practice and whenever I went to gigs.
So, I guess it makes sense that I'm more concerned about noise levels than most. The app works by having the watch sample background noise every 30 seconds using the second microphone introduced to the Apple Watch from Series 4 (2018's model), and processes it on the device. It doesn't record, share info, or listen to what's being said: It just tells you how loud the environment is. If it's been at 90dB or above (or a custom level you've set) for more than three minutes, it'll send an alert to let you know. You can have the Noise app as either a complication on the face to easily check how loud things are at any time. Or, if you don't feel the need to constantly monitor your environment, you can just wait for it to give you the heads up. You can then see the trends in the Health app on your phone and see if any patterns stick out.