What Are Decibel Levels?

By Monica Cohen, June 21st, 2010

While decibels are commonly used as a way to express the measurement of the pressure of sound within an area, the unit of measurement is also used in many different scientific disciplines that need to simply represent a wide range of large and small numbers using a logarithmic scale.

The Spectrum Of Decibel Levels

When referring to sound, decibels are used to measure noise heard by human ears, which can only hear a certain range of sound. The weakest sound a person can hear, is set at 0dB (decibels), while the loudest is 194dB.

Decibel Levels - Ear Plugs

Knowing the different decibel measurements of certain environments is important in helping those in that environment know the risks of prolonged exposure, and to set out to lower the decibel level, or use the proper safety equipment to prevent hearing damage or hearing loss. While standing in an area with a constant sound pressure of 90dB, without foam ear plugs or silicone ear plugs, may not seem too damaging to the ears, sustained exposure will eventually affect a person’s hearing. Most people think that hearing loss only occurs if the sound in a space is loud enough to cause pain, but most motorcycles and rock concerts are well above 90dB, yet below the 125dB needed to cause immediate pain.

Dangerous Decibel Levels

There are some sounds that can damage hearing permanently even if they are wearing hearing protection. Anything above 140dB is in this range. The sound of a gun firing is right at 140dB. So you know, 194dB marks the loudest sound level possible after the range becomes completely unsafe for human ears. Anyone exposed to modern machines and environments must know this range, and what levels are safe for short term and long term exposure, with and without hearing protection devices if they want to protect their hearing.

How people notice a change in decibel level is another important thing to know. Until a change of about 5dB, it is barely possible to know the sound pressure of a room is changing, but at a 10dB change, the sound will be perceived as twice as loud, and four times as loud at a 20dB change.

OSHA suggests that people should not spend much time in loud atmospheres. A rock concert should only be attended for fifteen minutes because of how loud the music can get, and one can only listen to musical practice on acoustic instruments for a few hours a day depending on the instrument. Many people can not avoid this sort of exposure to high decibel levels, such as city dwellers and factory workers, but there is appropriate industrial foam ear plugs for almost any environment.

HEAROS Reduce Decibel Levels

HEAROS, America’s favorite brand of ear plugs were developed to reduce noise and protect your ears. In light of the information and research provided below, we have created over 10 different ear plug styles with different noise reduction ratings (NRR) for those in need. As you can see on our ear plug product page, we offer:

To learn more, click on any of the links above.

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