The SoundPrint Story

By Gregory Scott, Founder of SoundPrint 

When you go out, do you strain to hear a friend, family member, date or business partner? Do you wish venues were quieter to carry a conversation? Looking for a polite way to ask managers to reduce their noise levels? Do you seek a way to find out where the quieter spots are in your city?

These questions have been on my mind the past few years. As someone with hearing loss, I am sensitive to loud venues and have often struggled to hear companions in noisy bars and restaurants.

I recall many times sitting at a restaurant table feeling completely lost in the conversation while others conversed and connected with each other. I would often nod my head in unison with the conversation, pretending to hear my companions when I could not, and then idly pass the time by entertaining myself with whatever fiction entered my head.

At home, I would google “quiet spots,” which was often a fruitless endeavor. A place listed as quiet would often be blasting with music when I arrived with my date. This type of setting was not a great environment to talk in and get to know someone.

As the struggle with dating was enhanced by not knowing where the quiet spots were, I started using a smartphone decibel meter to measure the venues and would keep a list of quieter spots in my notes. Friends, both those with normal hearing and those with hearing loss, would continuously ask for these lists. This led me to create the app.

I simply combined an accurate and calibrated smart phone decibel meter with crowdsourcing features and SoundPrint was born for the hearing-impaired community, but even those with typical hearing can benefit. SoundPrint is also helpful for the blind, those with autism, or those who simply prefer quiet environments.

SoundPrint allows you to discover the quieter venues in your city. Using the app’s internal decibel meter, you can measure the actual noise level of any venue, which is then submitted to a SoundPrint database that anyone can access to find out if a certain venue is quiet or loud. A database for your city is created and, with each submission, is enriched and becomes more valuable. In addition, submitting SoundPrint measurements is an effective way to tell venue managers that you and others care about noise levels and that they should mitigate the increasing din.

To date, thousands of venues have been measured, many of which have been measured three times or more. This has resulted in a curated quiet list for various cities. No longer am I just sitting at a restaurant table unable to participate; rather I am engaged in the conversation and able to connect with companions.

The goal is to continue generating these quiet spot lists and let venue managers know that we care about noise. Join the SoundPrint community by measuring a venue whenever you are out at a restaurant, bar, cafe, stadium, store, park, train station or any venue.  By doing so, you are helping each other discover which venues are quiet and noisy.