The ear has the remarkable ability to handle an enormous range of sound levels. The effects of noise on hearing vary among people. Some people’s ears are more sensitive to loud sounds,
To express levels of sound meaningfully in numbers that are more manageable, a logarithmic scale is used, rather than a linear one. This scale is the decibel scale.
A noise level chart showing examples of sounds with dB levels ranging from 0 to 180 decibels.
As a frame of reference, here are the decibel levels of sounds you may encounter in your everyday life.
|dBA||Examples||DECIBEL LEVELS MEANING||Decibel Effect|
|0||Healthy hearing threshold||0-30 dB, Very Faint.||Barely audible|
|10||A pin dropping|
|20||Rustling leaves||One-sixteenth as loud as 70 dB. Very Quiet|
|31-50 dB, Faint|
|40||A babbling brook,
|One-eighth as loud as 70 dB.|
|46-70 dB, Average.||One-fourth as loud as 70 dB.|
|Half as loud as 70 dB. Fairly quiet|
|The arbitrary base of comparison. The Upper 70s are annoyingly loud to some people.|
|70-85 dB, Moderate.|
|2 times as loud as 70 dB. Possible damage in 8 h exposure.|
|85||Passing diesel truck,
|91-100 dB, Very Loud.||4 times as loud as 70 dB. Likely damage 8 hr exp|
|95||Inside subway car,
|8 times as loud as 70 dB. Serious damage possible in 8 hr exposure|
|101-125 dB Extremely Loud.||Average human pain threshold. 16 times as loud as 70 dB.|
|115||Emergency vehicle siren,
|Painful. 32 times as loud as 70 dB.|
|130||Peak stadium crowd noise|
|135||Air raid siren|
|140||Jet engine at takeoff||140+ dB, Painful & Dangerous||Eardrum rupture|
|150||Fighter jet launch|
|165||.357 magnum revolver|
|194||Sound waves become shock waves|
Note: dBA = Decibels, A weighted
Preventing Harm to a hearing
A simple method to know potentially damaging sound would be to focus on warning signals that a sound may be harmful to your hearing loss. A sound could be detrimental if:
- You have trouble talking or hearing other people speak over the noise.
- The noise makes your ears hurt.
- Other sounds seem muffled when you leave a place where there’s loud noise.
Most instances of noise-induced hearing loss are due to repeated exposure to moderate levels of sound over several decades, not by some instances of very loud sound. Wearing hearing protectors will help stop harm from the moderate and loud sound.
What Do Different Decibel Levels Mean?
0-30 dB: Most human adults can’t hear sounds under 0 decibels. Most sound within this range is practically inaudible. Sounds that produce decibel levels between 0 and 30 comprise whispers as well as the ticking of a watch.
31-45 dB: Here is the decibel level of silent sounds. Within this variety, sounds are audible but you will have difficulty differentiating them from other noises if you’re somewhere noisy. Soft dialog (like that which you may notice from a library) drops to the 30-45 decibel range.
46-65 dB: If you’re walking down the road in a little city, this is around the decibel level of the noise you’d hear. Standard conversation, the sound of a bubbling flow, along with also the meow of your kitty may generate sound that drops from the 45-65 decibel range.
66-90 dB: A lot of your favourite handheld gadgets, by electrical beard trimmers into blenders, drop at the 70 to 90 range. This is also the amount that lots of electric lawnmowers (such as the EGO POWER+ Mower) drop in, which makes them considerably more silent than many other outdoor tools.
91-100 dB: This is all about the level at which you’re want to add some earplugs. Cars without a muffler and gas-powered lawnmowers sit in the 90 to 100 decibel range. Anything in this degree might provide you with a sound criticism from the neighbors.
101-125 dB: 110 decibels and above is the level where other sounds can not truly be heard. Aircraft takeoff, trains, and quite loudly concerts would fall to the 110+ decibel level.
126+ dB: 125 decibels is where sound really begins to get painful. Now, you’re basically talking about weaponized audio. This is the noise level of a rocket ship taking off.