Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Access Restrictions


Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Occupational and Environmental Health

First Advisor

Peters, Thomas M.

First Committee Member

Anthony, Renee T.

Second Committee Member

Thomas, Geb W.


Noise is a pervasive workplace hazard that varies spatially and temporally. Hazard mapping is a useful way to communicate intensity and distribution of noise sources in the workplace. These maps can be created using a stationary network of sensors, although the cost of noise measurement instruments has prohibited their use in such a network. The objectives for this work were to (1) develop an inexpensive noise sensor (<$100) that measures A-weighted sound pressure levels within ±2 dBA of a Type 2 sound level meter (SLM, ~$1,800); and (2) evaluate 50 noise sensors before field deployment as part of an inexpensive sensor network. The inexpensive noise sensor consists of an electret condenser microphone, an amplifier circuit, and a microcontroller with a small form factor (28mm by 47 mm by 9 mm) than can be operated as a stand-alone unit. Laboratory tests were conducted to evaluate 50 of the new sensors at 5 test levels. The testing levels were (1) ambient noise in a quiet office, (2) a pink noise test signal from 65 to 85 dBA in 10 dBA increments, and, (3) 94 dBA using a SLM calibrator. The difference between the output of the sensor and SLM were computed for each level and overall. Ninety-four percent of the noise sensors (n=46) were within ± 2 dBA of the SLM for noise levels from 65 dBA to 94 dBA. As noise level increased, bias decreased, ranging from 18.3% in the quiet office to 0.48% at 94 dBA. Overall bias of the sensors was 0.83% across the 75 dBA to 94 dBA range. These sensors are available for a variety of uses and can be customized for many applications, including incorporation into a stationary sensor network for continuously monitoring noise in manufacturing environments.


Hazard Evaluation, Inexpensive Sensors, Noise, Sensor Technology


vii, 48 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 35-37).


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Copyright © 2017 Laura Ann Hallett