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Sound Level

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Sound level
The decibel is often used in acoustics to quantify sound levels relative to a 0dB reference.

Sounds above 85dB are considered harmful, while 120dB is unsafe and 150dB causes physical damage to the human body. Windows break at about 163dB. Eardrums rupture at between 190 - 198dB. Sounds around 200dB can cause death to humans and are generated near bomb explosions.

Relative Noise Levels in decibels
The table below shows some examples of the noise levels of some common sounds.

dB Comment
120 Threshold of pain. Jet taking off at 60m
115 Pneumatic drill, express train passing through station
110 Impossible to converse. Disco (dance floor)
105 Live orchestra
100 Inside tube station
95 Machine shop, print shop
90 Difficult to converse. Ventilation equipment room, club
85 Busy supermarket
80 Loud voice needed to talk. Traffic noise, church choir
75 Noisy office
70 Speech at 30cm, typing pool, theatre, department store
65 Speech at 1m
60 Typical office, normal talking, near motorway
55 Background noise, hotel lobby, restaurant
50 Light traffic at 30m, quiet office
45 Tearing paper at 1m
40 Average residental area, quiet house
35 Soft music
30 Countryside
25 Library
20 Leaves rustling
15 Broadcasting studio
10 Quiet whisper at 1m

0 Theashold of hearing. Minimum audible sound

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