In 2013, NIOSH received requests from stakeholders to evaluate sound measurement mobile applications (apps) and their potential to characterise occupational noise exposures. NIOSH researchers conducted the first ever evaluation of such apps, and in 2014, published their findings in The Journal of Acoustical Society of America. NIOSH simultaneously promoted the study on the NIOSH science blog, the NIOSH social media, and other communication channels.Methods
A plan was developed in collaboration with NIOSH communication staff to disseminate the latest findings on the NIOSH studies and product development through various social media and communication channels. The plan included the use of the NIOSH science blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, NIOSH e-Newsletter, and promoting the new content to national OSH and media outlets.Results
The NIOSH peer-reviewed journal articles became the most frequently read and downloaded JASA articles, the science blog is the all-time most viewed NIOSH science blog, and a top engagement and viewed topic on NIOSH social media channels. As a result of the continuous interaction with stakeholders through the science blog and social media, and to address the need for an occupationally-centric noise exposure app, NIOSH started working on a sound level metre app aimed at the safety and health professional. In January 2017, we launched the NIOSH Sound Level Metre (SLM) mobile application for iOS devices. The app is already the most downloaded and fastest-adopted NIOSH mobile application, with more 70 000 downloads in 6 months.Conclusion
The successful launch and adoption of the NIOSH SLM app demonstrates the value of collaboration between NIOSH scientific and communication staff and the importance of continuous engagement between NIOSH researchers and its stakeholders.