A decibel dB(A) is a unit of measurement that indicates how loud a sound is.
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.
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
|10||Almost inaudible||A leaf falling|
|20||Audible||Rustles of autumnal leaves|
|40||Living room, quiet classroom|
|50||Limited sound||Refrigerator working, car driving past|
|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|
|90||Extremely unpleasant||Truck close by, screaming, yelling, shouting|
|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|
|140||Pain threshold||First Monday of the month siren from close by|
|150||Permanent damage to hearing||Fireworks|
|160||Shooting with pistol or rifle|
|180||Rocket launch platform|