Total HVAC Repair Inc.

Decibel (dB) Comparisons

Common Sounds
This decibel (dBA) table compares some common sounds and shows how they rank in potential harm to hearing. In many industries, workers are exposed to dangerous noise levels. This is particularly true in the construction, lumber, mining, steel and textile industries.

Jet Engines (Near)140 
Shotgun Firing130 
Jet Takeoff (100-200 Ft.)130 
Rock Concert (Varies)110-140Threshold of pain (125 dB)
Oxygen Torch121 
Disco/Boom Box120Threshold of sensation (120 dB)
Thunderclap (Near)120 
Stereo (Over 100 Watts)110-125 
Symphony Orchestra110Regular exposure of more than 1 minute risks permanent hearing loss (over 100 dB)
Power Saw (Chain Saw)110
Jet Fly-over (1000 Ft.)103 
Electric Furnace Area100No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure recommended (90-100 dB)
Garbage Truck/Cement Mixer100
Farm Tractor98
Newspaper Press97 
Subway, Motorcycle (25 Ft)88
Very annoying
Lawnmower, Food Blender85-90Level at which hearing damage begins after 8 hours (85dB)
Recreational Vehicles, TV70-90 
Diesel Truck (40 Mph, 50 Ft.)84 
Average City Traffic Noise80Annoying; interferes with conversation; constant exposure may cause damage
Garbage Disposal80
Washing Machine78 
Vacuum Cleaner70Intrusive; interferes with telephone conversation
Hair Dryer70
Normal Conversation50-65 
Quiet Office50-60Comfortable (under 60 dB)
Refrigerator Humming40 
Whisper30Very quiet
Broadcasting Studio30 
Rustling Leaves20Just audible
Normal Breathing10 
 0Threshold of normal hearing (1000-4000 Hz)

Since the sensitivity of the ear to sound is not the same for all frequencies, weighting or attenuating filters are included in the sound level meter’s circuits to simulate the ears’ response. A noise level meter gives an instantaneous measurement of the noise present, but cannot measure the duration of the exposure. To measure the amount of noise a person is exposed to over a period of time, a “dosimeter~ or an integrated sound level meter must be used. Sources for the above include the American Medical Association and the Canadian Hearing Society of Ontario. Decibel table developed by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892. January 1990.

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