Here are some interesting numbers, collected from a variety of sources, that help one to understand the volume levels of various sources and how they can affect our hearing.
|Weakest sound heard||0dB|
|Whisper Quiet Library||30dB|
|Normal conversation (3-5')||60-70dB|
|Telephone dial tone||80dB|
|City Traffic (inside car)||85dB|
|Train whistle at 500', Truck Traffic||90dB|
|Subway train at 200'||95dB|
|Level at which sustained exposure may result in hearing loss||90 - 95dB|
|Power mower at 3'||107dB|
|Power saw at 3'||110dB|
|Sandblasting, Loud Rock Concert||115dB|
|Pneumatic riveter at 4'||125dB|
|Even short term exposure can cause permanent damage - Loudest recommended exposure WITHhearing protection||140dB|
|Jet engine at 100', Gun Blast||140dB|
|Death of hearing tissue||180dB|
|Loudest sound possible||194dB|
|OSHA Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure|
|Hours per day||Sound level|
|.25 or less||115dB|
|Perceptions of Increases in Decibel Level|
|Barely Perceptible Change||3dB|
|Clearly Noticeable Change||5dB|
|About Twice as Loud||10dB|
|About Four Times as Loud||20dB|
|Sound Levels of Music|
|Normal piano practice||60 -70dB|
|Fortissimo Singer, 3'||70dB|
|Chamber music, small auditorium||75 - 85dB|
|Piano Fortissimo||84 - 103dB|
|Violin||82 - 92dB|
|Clarinet||85 - 114dB|
|French horn||90 - 106dB|
|Trombone||85 - 114dB|
|Tympani & bass drum||106dB|
|Walkman on 5/10||94dB|
|Symphonic music peak||120 - 137dB|
|Amplifier rock, 4-6'||120dB|
|Rock music peak||150dB|
- One-third of the total power of a 75-piece orchestra comes from the bass drum.
- High frequency sounds of 2-4,000 Hz are the most damaging. The uppermost octave of the piccolo is 2,048-4,096 Hz.
- Aging causes gradual hearing loss, mostly in the high frequencies.
- Speech reception is not seriously impaired until there is about 30 dB loss; by that time severe damage may have occurred.
- Hypertension and various psychological difficulties can be related to noise exposure.
- The incidence of hearing loss in classical musicians has been estimated at 4-43%, in rock musicians 13-30%.