What Is That Sensor On The Wall? 6 Things You Need To Know About Noise Detection | NoiseAware
We’ve all been there, and we all know it: Excessive noise, whether coming from a neighbor’s house, apartment, patio, balcony, pool or garden, can be a source of incredible frustration and stress. Maybe it’s a group of recent college grads regaling each other with their cocktail-fueled karaoke prowess. Or perhaps it’s a family reunion with a live band that’s keeping it live well into the wee hours. Whatever the source of the sound, loud, sustained noise can interrupt work-from-home concentration, prevent babies from napping, and wake up humans of all ages in all stages of sleep. Most localities have noise ordinances on the books to regulate excessive noise and levy penalties when those regulations are violated. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to curtail that loud noise before neighbors are angered, cops are called, or ordinance-violation fines are triggered? That’s where noise detection technology comes in.
- What is noise detection?
- How does noise monitoring work?
- What kind of noise is considered excessive?
- Am I being recorded?
- What happens if our group is too noisy?
- How can noise detection help me as a short-term vacation rental guest?
1. What is noise detection?
So you’ve rented an Airbnb or VRBO and you’re wondering what that little box on the wall is doing there. That small but amazingly smart sensor is a NoiseAware privacy-safe noise-detection device, and it’s designed for an important purpose: to detect excessive noise and gently caution you and your group to take it down a notch before you get in trouble. It does not have the ability to identify individual sounds (sneezes, shouts, flushing toilets, crying babies, your best Johnny Cash impression), only decibel levels.
It does not have a camera or recording function of any kind. It simply measures noise, and, when that noise exceeds the level allowed by house rules and/or local ordinances for a sustained period of time, sends a text message to you, the guest, reminding you to lower the volume a bit. And if you get the sense you’re seeing these devices more frequently in short-term vacation rentals, you’re right. Increasingly, counties are making privacy-safe noise-detection devices a requirement for obtaining a rental permit or license, since they are so effective at preventing problems before they happen.
2. How does noise monitoring work?
Like other environmental monitors, such as a thermometer that measures temperature so you can make heating or cooling adjustments, or a smoke detector that alerts you to a fire in your home, NoiseAware measures excessive decibels.
The device uses a proprietary algorithm called the Noise Risk Score (NRS) to track not only how loud a noise is, but how long it is loud for. The sensor measures the decibel level of sound, along with the duration of the sound. This lets it avoid alerting guests about sporadic loud sounds, which are part of life, and not considered excessive noise. The rental host can keep track of excessive noise “events” through a phone app connected to the monitor.
3. What kind of noise is considered excessive?
Again, nobody is interested in notifying short-term-rental guests when they sneeze, or call out for someone to bring the ketchup to the patio, or accidentally drop a pan on the floor. These normal noises are not considered problematic. On the other hand, a rowdy party with loud music and even louder talking/shouting, whether indoors or out, would likely generate an excessive noise warning (and maybe a fine-triggering occupancy violation as well). Similarly, music or a streamed movie being played at high volume late at night are the kinds of loud, sustained noise that may negatively impact neighbors trying to get a good night’s sleep. These are the kinds of noises that NoiseAware is designed to measure and mitigate.
4. Am I being recorded?
No, NoiseAware does not record you, your family, your friends, or any rental guests at any time.
5. What happens if our group is too noisy?
The intention with noise monitoring is to avoid serious noise-related consequences, not to stop short-term-rental guests from enjoying their vacation. NoiseAware’s NightAgent automated messaging feature sends two text messages to the booked guest, at 10-minute intervals after detecting sustained excessive noise. If the excessive noise does not stop, the noise notification is escalated to the property manager or owner to take further action. The great news is that 75% of noise situations are resolved by the first NightAgent text message. Once the decibels return to an allowable level, no further action is needed, and guests can go on enjoying their stay.
6. How can noise detection help me as a short-term vacation rental guest?
While a noise-detection system helps vacation-rental hosts protect their neighbors’ rights to peace and quiet, and helps hosts avoid noise-ordinance fines, it also helps protect guests. By detecting excessive noise and letting you know before things get out of control, the system frees you from self-policing, and assures you that neighbors, security or law enforcement won’t come knocking at your door. It also protects you against false noise complaints, which, though rare, do happen. Sometimes, a neighbor may object to a legally permitted short-term rental house next door, or a similarly permitted unit in their building. And in some cases, the neighbor may try to have fines imposed on the host, or even have the rental permit revoked, by filing a complaint about excessive noise…when no such noise has taken place. In these instances, NoiseAware data can be used to show that the purported noise did not happen as reported. And that can help you, as a guest, avoid negative guest reviews on short-term-rental sites such as Airbnb, and avoid financial penalties for “house rules” violations of the booking agreement.
Positive guest reviews, no late-night knocks on the door or $$$ fines, restful sleep for you and your neighbors—these are the benefits of 100%-privacy-safe noise-measurement technology. That’s what that sensor on the wall is, and why it’s there!