A content analysis of behaviour change techniques in noise monitoring apps

Kiri Mealings, Elizabeth Beach

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/WebsiteArticle


Background: Exposure to excessive noise levels in occupational or recreational settings can be a hazard to hearing. Behaviour change techniques in noise monitoring apps have the potential to create a behavioural shift towards safer listening habits in the long-term.

Purpose: To assess the number of smartphone noise monitoring apps currently available, ascertain key features, and determine whether they contain techniques aimed at changing the user’s behaviour in relation to noise exposure.

Method: Noise apps were searched on the Australian Apple App Store and Google Play Store. The search returned 499 unique apps, with 250 deemed as relevant noise apps. Apps were coded for key features and assessed for behaviour change techniques.

Results: Ninety-six percent of apps displayed the sound measurement result in decibels. Other common displays were a dial, bar, graph, loudness descriptor, and/or loudness chart. Colour was used to indicate different noise levels in 40% of apps. Nineteen percent (47 apps) incorporated behaviour change techniques. The three behaviour change techniques identified were ‘feedback and monitoring’ (45 apps), ‘natural consequences’ (17 apps), and ‘shaping knowledge’ (four apps). Two apps incorporated three behaviour change techniques, 15 apps incorporated two behaviour change techniques, and 30 apps incorporated one behaviour change technique.

Conclusion: Up to three behaviour change techniques were found in 19% of noise apps. Future research is needed to assess whether these behaviour change techniques are effective for a long-term shift towards safer listening behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationHearing Health & Technology Matters
PublisherHearing Health & Technology Matters
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


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