A sound meter, or sound level meter, is a handheld instrument equipped with a microphone that measures ambient noise in an environment. Sound is converted into a voltage value by the device, and noise quantity is reported in decibels.
Sound meters are generally used for safety purposes. Occupational noise exposure is standardized by OSHA, and if personnel are exposed to sound exceeding certain thresholds, protective measures or engineering solutions are expected to mitigate exposure.
Sound meters measure the sound level in an environment, and can keep track of minimum and maximum values, respond rapidly or over time, and report with a large degree of accuracy. The measurements are then used to guide adjustments made to the environment, or notify personnel that protective equipment is required.