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5 sound levels in decibels

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SNR

Humans can hear sounds between 0 and 140 decibels.  0 decibel does not mean that there is no sound, merely that we cannot hear it. 0 decibel is the so-called hearing threshold for the human ear.

While we can hear more than 140 decibels, it is too painful for our ears and if you expose yourself to such a loud noise you are at extremely high risk of permanent damage to your hearing.  The table blow shows how loud sound is.

Decibels metre

According to United Kingdom legislation you are obliged to wear hearing protection if you work in an environment with 80 decibels of sound or higher on a daily basis. For fun, check out the folloing  decibel metre . Below the table is a video in which the volume within various genres (rock, hip-hop, dance, etc.) is shown.

Example of decibels

DECIBEL SOUND EXAMPLE
10 Almost inaudible A leaf falling
20 Audible Rustles of autumnal leaves
30 Very quiet Whispering
40 Living room, quiet classroom
50 Limited sound Refrigerator working, car driving past
55 Percolating coffee-maker
60 Audible Sound of human voice, machinery
70 Irritating Television set on loud, vacuum cleaner, several people on the telephone
75 Constant sound Busy restaurant around lunchtime
80 Unpleasant Alarm clock, freight traffic, doorbell
85 Loud Sawing, mixer
90 Extremely unpleasant Truck close by, screaming, yelling, shouting
95 Noisy Drill, violin
100 Extremely unpleasant Machine in a factory, compressor, fighter jet at 300 m
105 Even louder Helicopter close by, large drum
110 Extremely loud Rock concert, chainsaw
120 Human voice at its loudest, police siren
130 Thunder
140 Pain threshold First Monday of the month siren from close by
150 Permanent damage to hearing Fireworks
160 Shooting with pistol or rifle
170 Avalanche firework
180 Rocket launch platform
194 Saturn rocket

 

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