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Ever been in a loud setting, like a concert, and wondered if it's safe for your hearing? You can gauge just how safe (or unsafe) listening levels are using your Apple Watch, one of the best smartwatches. Getting details about the ambient sound levels might prompt you to leave a situation or even pop on a pair of the best over-ear headphones to mask some of the loud noise. Or perhaps you want to use the information to determine if the setting is safe for a young child with much more sensitive hearing. Whatever the reason, it’s one of those nice-to-have Apple Watch features you can call up at any time. You can also set the Watch to send notifications when the decibel levels are recognized as being at a level that could adversely affect your hearing.

How to monitor safe hearing levels with Apple Watch

  1. Open the Noise app on the Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Enable to turn it on if it isn’t already on.
  3. Any time you want to measure the noise level in a specific setting, open the app and wait for a reading. There’s also a Noise complication you can add to the Apple Watch face if this is a primary concern you want to keep an eye on 24/7.
  4. To receive notifications whenever the sound level is recognized as loud, go to Settings on the Apple Watch.
  5. Go to Noise.
  6. Select Environmental Sound Measurements.
  7. Turn it On by tapping on the right side of the bar. Then go back to the previous page.
  8. Select Noise Notifications.
  9. Choose the desired level for which you want to receive a notification. You can choose from 80dB, 85dB, 90dB, 95dB, and 100dB.
  10. You’ll now receive a notification if noise levels ever reach that threshold.

The Noise app indicates the noise level in decibels (dB) and alerts underneath if this is OK (below 80dB) or Loud (above 80dB, after which repeated and long-term exposure can impact your hearing negatively). Under Loud, you’ll see what listening at specific levels can do after specified periods of time. For example, listening to noise for 5.5 hours per day at 80dB can cause temporary hearing loss.

You also get useful advice, including the recommended duration for listening to sound at that level (no more than 40 hours per week) so it won’t adversely impact your hearing.

As you go further up the list into sounds above 90dB, you can learn about the impact repeated exposure can have on your hearing, even after just a few minutes of listening at that level.

Keep in mind that water and wind can impact the results. This might be especially true for owners of the Apple Watch Ultra, who often partake in outdoor and extreme sports. But even with a standard Apple Watch Series 8, I’ll sometimes receive a loud noise notification on my Watch while taking a shower.

The Noise app within Apple Watch uses the Watch’s microphones to sample and measure sound, but it’s important to note that none of these sounds are recorded nor saved to the device or your Apple account.