Alisa Hauser & Mina Bloom | Block Club Chicago | October 3, 2018
CHICAGO — Folks who can’t hear what their Tinder date is saying over the blaring music at a burger bar can now whip out their iPhones and warn others to find a quieter place for a conversation.
SoundPrint, described as a “Yelp for noise levels,” allows users to find and rate restaurants, bars and cafes based on noise levels.
Founded by Gregory Scott, SoundPrint launched last year, initially just in New York City where he lives. In a Q&A on the app’s website, Scott said the idea for SoundPrint came about as he was dating.
“As someone with hearing loss, finding a quieter venue is very important,” Scott said. “And searching for quiet spots on Google, Yelp and other websites was not fruitful, as their ratings are subjective (whether the reviewer thinks the place is quiet or loud) and often unreliable. Many times I would go to a supposedly quieter venue and the place would be very loud, which often resulted in having trouble connecting with my date.”
Scott began using decibel meters out of curiosity to measure various venues, and when he found a quiet spot, he would measure it. This resulted in a list of quiet venues that he shared with others, whether they had hearing loss or not.
Since so many other people were interested in Scott’s New York City list, he decided to create the SoundPrint app and expand its reach. The crowdsourced database currently totals more than 30,000 noise level submissions in 12 cities and it recently expanded nationwide on iPhones (an Android version of the app is not available).
The SoundPrint app includes a built-in decibel meter, so users can measure the noise level of a venue and submit the results or “sound checks” to the SoundPrint database, as well as leave detailed comments about the venue.
The app rates sound levels within four categories: Quiet, Moderate, Loud and Very Loud.