The decibel (unit symbol dB) is a derived quasi-unit for loudness. It is not a true unit, but rather an indication that the value given is the decadic logarithm of a ratio. Generally speaking, a 10 dB increase in sound pressure is perceived by a person as approximately twice as loud.

Generally speaking, the pain threshold of a sound is about 134 dB. In the case of long-term exposure, however, damage to hearing is assumed to occur from as low as 85 dB.

A few exemplary volumes

Description Volume
Leaf noise, quiet breathing 10 dB
Normal conversation 40-60 dB
Car at 10 m distance 60-80 dB
Main road at 10 m distance 80-90 dB
Compressed air hammer 100 dB
Fighter aircraft 110-140 dB
Rifle shot 140 dB


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