Homework 70 Decibels

Noise Level Chart

A noise level chart showing examples of sounds with dB levels ranging from 0 to 180 decibels.

dBAExampleHome & Yard AppliancesWorkshop & Construction
0healthy hearing threshold
10a pin dropping
20rustling leaves
40babbling brookcomputer
50light trafficrefrigerator
60conversational speechair conditioner
75toilet flushingvacuum cleaner
80alarm clockgarbage disposal
85passing diesel trucksnow blower
90squeeze toylawn mowerarc welder
95inside subway carfood processorbelt sander
100motorcycle (riding)handheld drill
105sporting eventtable saw
110rock bandjackhammer
115emergency vehicle sirenriveter
120thunderclapoxygen torch
125balloon popping
130peak stadium crowd noise
135air raid siren
140jet engine at takeoff
150fighter jet launch
155cap gun
165.357 magnum revolver
170safety airbag
175howitzer cannon
180rocket launch
194sound waves become shock waves

Most noise levels are given in dBA, which are decibels adjusted to reflect the ear's response to different frequencies of sound. Sudden, brief impulse sounds, like many of those shown at 120 dB or greater, are often given in dB (no adjustment).

Noise Chart

Specifics about the measurement of a particular sound source can be found in the Noise Navigator® Sound Level Database, E-A-R 88-34/HP, by Elliott H Berger, Rick Neitzel, and Cynthia A Kladden, E•A•RCAL Laboratory, 3M Occupational Health & Environmental Safety Division, an extensive compilation of data on noise level measurements, including many of the values appearing on this chart.

Learn more:
What is a decibel?
What are the safe noise exposure limits?

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Noise Sources and Their Effects

Noise SourceDecibel
Jet take-off (at 25 meters)150Eardrum rupture
Aircraft carrier deck140 
Military jet aircraft take-off from aircraft carrier with afterburner at 50 ft (130 dB).130 
Thunderclap, chain saw.  Oxygen torch (121 dB). 120Painful.  32 times as loud as 70 dB.  
Steel mill, auto horn at 1 meter.   Turbo-fan aircraft at takeoff power at 200 ft (118 dB).  Riveting machine (110 dB); live rock music (108 - 114 dB).110 Average human pain threshold.  16 times as loud as 70 dB. 
Jet take-off (at 305 meters), use of outboard motor, power lawn mower, motorcycle, farm tractor, jackhammer, garbage truck.   Boeing 707 or DC-8 aircraft at one nautical mile (6080 ft) before landing (106 dB); jet flyover at 1000 feet (103 dB); Bell J-2A helicopter at 100 ft (100 dB).1008 times as loud as 70 dB.  Serious damage possible in 8 hr exposure
Boeing 737 or DC-9 aircraft at one nautical mile (6080 ft) before landing (97 dB); power mower (96 dB); motorcycle at 25 ft (90 dB).  Newspaper press (97 dB).


4 times as loud as 70 dB.  Likely damage 8 hr exp
Garbage disposal, dishwasher, average factory, freight train (at 15 meters).  Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB).  Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB).802 times as loud as 70 dB.  Possible damage in 8 h exposure.
Passenger car at 65 mph at 25 ft (77 dB); freeway at 50 ft from pavement edge 10 a.m. (76 dB).  Living room music (76 dB); radio or TV-audio, vacuum cleaner (70 dB).70Arbitrary base of comparison.  Upper 70s are annoyingly loud to some people.
Conversation in restaurant, office, background music, Air conditioning unit at 100 ft60Half as loud as 70 dB.  Fairly quiet
Quiet suburb, conversation at home.   Large electrical transformers at 100 ft50One-fourth as loud as 70 dB. 
Library, bird calls (44 dB); lowest limit of urban ambient sound40One-eighth as loud as 70 dB.  
Quiet rural area30One-sixteenth as loud as 70 dB.  Very Quiet
Whisper, rustling leaves20 
Breathing10Barely audible

[modified from http://www.wenet.net/~hpb/dblevels.html] on 2/2000.  SOURCES: Temple University Department of Civil/Environmental Engineering (www.temple.edu/departments/CETP/environ10.html), and Federal Agency Review of Selected Airport Noise Analysis Issues, Federal Interagency Committee on Noise (August 1992). Source of the information is attributed to Outdoor Noise and the Metropolitan Environment, M.C. Branch et al., Department of City Planning, City of Los Angeles, 1970.

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